Wake Me When They’re Ready

A pinhole camera is a variation of the camera obscura (Latin: “dark chamber”), the optical device that led to modern photography.  The camera consists of a lightproof box with a hole in one side.  Like the camera obscura, the pinhole camera has no lens but instead a small aperture — a pinhole — that allows light to enter the interior.

The best thing about pinhole cameras is you make them yourself with just about anything:  a cigar box, coffee tin, a soda can.  Film, memory cards, or light meters are unnecessary.  Just use a piece of photographic paper as an interior lining.

In this series of photographs my exposure times are not fractions of a second, but instead two to three months or more.  Distributing at least 30 cameras in various locations, often lashed to trees and fence posts, I retrieve them weeks later.  I am particularly interested in documenting landscapes using the phases of the moon as my timer.  Aimed toward the Eastern sky, the repeated rise of the moon is recorded as a bright arc. Success rates are low as humidity invades the camera or other mishaps occur.   But experimentation, acquired knowledge, and diligent practice yield greater results.

“No matter how slow the film, (the) Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen”—Minor White, Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations.