Michael Sturgess.

I’ve found myself admiring Michael’s work for sometime now. I recently shared a few images of his on the Instagram page, dubbing him the “King of Composition” - and with good reason!

His imagery displays such a keen, persistent and unique perspective. I am obsessed with the way he guides my eye in each of his exposures. Michael actively directs his audiences eye, achieving a sense of symmetry that I’ve not yet come across within the pinhole realm. 

It is rare to find such visual precision within this medium - a medium built on experimentation. This accuracy I feel is especially evident in the exposure below.

I asked Michael if he wouldn’t mind answering a few questions for me. He kindly obliged…

Why pinhole?

I’ve been shooting with a lot of different cameras all my life and I’d never tried pinhole before. I’d seen images produced by the Ilford pinhole cameras which I liked but I didn’t think I’d be able to use one, as I didn’t have access to a darkroom.

A couple of Google searches later and I found you could shoot pinhole with 35mm and 120 roll cameras. The first camera I tried - just over a year ago - was a Holga 135PIN and I was massively disappointed with the results. Next came the Vermeer 6x6, which was an improvement on the Holga, but I still wasn’t really hooked.

Then I got my first RealitySoSubtle pinhole camera and that was it. The otherworld / weirdness feeling from images produced by the RSS6x6 was what I wanted.  I also bought another RSS6x6 with a filter attachment so I’m currently experimenting with different combinations of filters and film stocks.

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice?

I’ve always liked strange angles, reflections and double-exposures in my photography so I’m now trying to incorporate this with my pinhole photography.

I also really like images with no people or traffic in them, and living in central London this can be sometimes an impossible task.

I’m still learning with pinhole so the experimenting is great.

From whom do you draw the most inspiration?

The people who have inspired me with my pinhole work are Moni Smith, Corine Hormann and Burkhard Bierbaums.

Moni really helped me with advice when I first started my pinhole journey and I really enjoy seeing her work.

I find Corine’s work just amazing, so beautiful and dreamy.

And I love Burkhard’s double exposures, which is something I’m keen to try myself.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t be scared to try, as trying is the best way to learn.

You often see on Twitter people asking something like “has anyone has tried this camera, with this lens and with this film… .”

I’m often tempted to reply “Try it your bloody self!”

You’ll learn a lot more by giving it a go yourself.

Also, I keep a photo memo book where I record which camera, film and accessories I used and also the time, weather and location of my photographs. This has really helped me with my pinhole photography.

Please have a look through Michael’s imagery below before visiting his blog and heading over to his Twitter to shower him with love.

Until next time,

Dan @ The Pinhole Society

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