Pinhole photography

The low tech, intuitive nature of pinhole camera photography opens up many creative possibilities. The cameras are often homemade, and when standardized photographic materials such as film are used, they are often used in non-standardized ways. The exposures are often quite long, even in full sunlight, so the passage of time itself seems to be a participant in the image making — shadows move, leaves flutter and the landscape changes. With pinhole photography, it's not so much a matter of "taking a picture," it's more like collecting photons and then seeing what the collection looks like.

When using a homemade camera that has no lens, lightmeter, automatic shutter, etc. the photographer can really get inside the process of the image creation itself, and develop an almost tactile sense of what is going on inside the camera while the image is being made.

I use several cameras for black and white photography, each has its own characteristics. One camera has three pinholes that project an overlapping image on to the film (photo paper actually) which is wrapped around a cylindrical film holder. Another three cameras are made of high fired stoneware. One was made from a metal can. There is a separate page that has details about my cameras, and how they are put together. I also have a step by step section that shows how to make a ceramic camera Pinhole camera images have an unusual, dream-like quality, but the images themselves weren't dreamt up in the sense of being layered with a image editing program — these photographs are simply what the camera recorded, and are in that sense a vision of reality that is as valid as any other.

I've also done a bit of colour pinhole photography with a pinhole modified Nikon F2 camera, and some colour images are included.

imageUntitled Series no. 459
imageUntitled Series no. 458
imageUntitled Series no. 456
imageUntitled Series no. 454
imageUntitled Series no. 452
imageUntitled Series no. 451
imageUntitled Series no. 448
imageUntitled Series no. 447
imageIn Ruins
imageRuth's Window
imagePolistes Nest
imageVacuum Ether
imageBlickensderfer 7
imageEntrance Windows
imageCuban Shore

Additional images: Cuban Coast, Studio Step, Meadow Car, Tie-Down, Providence Bay, Cape Road — fog, Big Bay Wharf, Nautilus Anamorph, Black Bridge, Reading, Laneway, Rock Patterns, MacGregor Point, Rock Balancing no. 2, Drawn to Heaven no. 2, Forest Sculpture, Horse Head Study no. 1, Rutabagas, Snowy stream, Cyclamen, Forest Floor, Inukshuk no. 1, Farm near the Slough of Despond, South of Adamsville, Drawn to Heaven no. 1, Multi-view Garden, Pinhole Photogram no. 4, Wind-up collection, Horse Head Study no. 2, Horse Head Study no. 3, Mask from South America, Three point turn, First Snow - Lantern, Winter self portrait, Stairs, Osseus structure, Window and snow, North Keppel Beach, Outlet, It's about time, Interior with orchids, Rock Balancing no. 1, Inukshuk no. 2, Stone wall piece, Succulents, North Keppel Cemetery, Glass balls, Hagi tea bowl, Megaliths at Keppel Henge no. 1, Windows, Megaliths at Keppel Henge no. 2, Paperweight, Shadows on a shoji.

The Pinhole Camera Photography site is a part of my main website, which is about pottery. A link to the pottery site can be found here:

A photography related site to this one is my Astro Photography site. This is a collection of some of my astronomy related photographs taken during the past twelve years.

Another related site is about Keppel Henge, which is a large, megalithic circle and sundial that a friend and I built. There are some astrophotos on the Keppel Henge site and a page about kite aerial photography.
Steve Irvine
484068 Cape Road
Georgian Bluffs, Ontario
Canada N0H 2T0
(519) 534 2175