Paul Woloschuk.

“Less Is More”. Don’t burden yourself with equipment. 

My name is Paul Woloschuk. I am 66 years old, retired and I live in a village near Chippenham in Wiltshire, UK. Photography has been a passion of mine ever since my teenage years. A few years ago, I visited Cornwall in the UK. Rather than take my usual variety of cameras and lenses, I chose instead to take only my Zero Image pinhole camera and a tripod. The experience was really eye-opening. 

In your own words, what do you do? 

I photograph whatever interests me. This frequently takes the form of images of architecture and nature, which you may think they are two complete opposites, but I see similarities in their forms. Function, structure and beauty may exist in both. 

Why do you do what you do? 

I shoot pinhole because of the simplicity and rawness of the process. Plus, I suppose the uncertainty of the resulting image excites me. I especially like to employ long exposures in my work; I try use a long exposure to introduce evidence of movement into my photographs. 

What is integral to your practice? 

The ability to identify a suitable pinhole scene by training my eye to ‘see pinhole’.

Why pinhole? 

I have always loved the ethereal quality of the photographs by the pioneers, and have long been fascinated by alternative photographic techniques. I have created sunprints, experimented with sepia toning, Platinum Palladium printing and even hand-tinting using inks. But it was whilst browsing photographs on the web that I came across pinhole images. The extreme wide angle of view and soft characteristics was an instant hit with me. Here was another aspect of photography that I just had to try! Not having the skills to make my own camera, I bought a Zero Image 69 (variable format) camera. Zernike Au’s cameras are not only very well made, but are in themselves objects of beauty. A couple of years later, I bought a Reality So Subtle 6 x 17 format camera from James Guerin in order to experiment with the panoramic format. Both cameras use 120 film which gives me a negative of adequate quality to produce quite large prints with the convenience and affordability of roll film. Having the Zero Image, with its variable format (6x4.5 through to 6x9) and the RSS 6x17, I am now happy with my ‘tools’. I love the primitive nature of pinhole photography, and I particularly like the impressionist results that pinhole photography often creates. I like working with the minimum of equipment, in the same was that an artist might choose to have only a sketch pad and charcoal out in the field. He uses the limited pallet available to him skilfully to create his vision. Taking a photograph with a simple camera challenges the photographer to use his visionary skills using the minimum of equipment.

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice? 

I love to photograph doorways and entrances. They encourage the viewer to imagine what may be beyond that gate or that arch - be it a garden, an orchard or a room. 

Has your practice change over time? If so, how? 

It’s difficult to say whether my pinhole photography has changed over time, as when I began using a pinhole camera relatively recently, I was already experienced in working with film, having started my photography in the 1960s, and being used to processing my own film and prints; film was not new to me. Therefore, moving into pinhole was simply a matter of applying my existing techniques to a different camera, although having said that, I did need to recognise a pinhole camera’s characteristics, and learn how to bring them out in my photography.

Is there a specific piece you’re especially proud of? And why? 

Just over two years ago, I bought a pinhole camera created by James Guerin; the RSS 6x17. My first outing with that camera was on a trip to London. I took a photograph of the 21st century Millennium Bridge with the 17th century St Paul’s Cathedral as a distant focal point, itself sandwiched between the modern and classical buildings of London. The river was busy with river taxis and tourist boats, but the long exposure eliminated those distractions, allowing the viewer to concentrate on the architecture within the photograph. I like that photograph because it demonstrates the amazing quality that one can achieve from a pinhole camera.

From whom do you draw the most inspiration? 

I’m not a great fan of art per se, but I do like the work of the eighteenth century British artist, William Turner. He created movement in his paintings by using create swirls of dramatic colour. 

What is your dream project? 

I have a long-standing interest in traditions - I would love to travel around the UK, capturing traditional customs armed only with a pinhole camera. 

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

Try it!

Panayot Savov.

My name is Panayot Savov and I teach Public Buildings in Architecture at University. I am in my late thirties, I live in Sofia, Bulgaria where I am originally from. 

In your own words, what do you do? 

I like to think that I am a little bit of a stalker – in Tarkovsky’s poetic notion – as I drag in weird things in everyday reality and see how they are evolving out of their native context. It so happens that camera obscura photography is one of those weird things. I have these two approaches to the subject. First and most common, taking pinhole images lets my mind rest. There is a lot of physical effort around taking a pinhole shot and I don’t mind it as soon as it lets my mind rest, and it does. In most cases I just place a box without thinking too much, I pretend that someone else asked me to do something technically, to bring a tripod, to measure the sunlight, to open and close the ‘shutter’ properly, and I just do it. 

But it is not me exactly, it is a way of not making any decisions. Most of the time those images produced are quite ordinary and if there is something in them, it is a surprise, and I am definitely not responsible. 

The second approach is quite the opposite. It occupies my whole mind, I get really excited and eager, so I do it only on special occasions like birthdays (not joking), or WWPD, or when I really need to get a special thought out, an idea–out of my mind, as ideas if kept for too long can poison us irreversibly. To be clear here, an idea is not a visual thing because commonly visuals are already planted into us, they are manufactured - as David Lynch would have put it if we were to be part of that small Twin Peaks society.

Why do you do what you do? 

I guess I answered within the text above already, for the ‘what do I do’ question, without noticing. Those are the best answers one can possibly give–the ones that are not noticed in the process, the side products of explaining something else. 

What’s integral to your practice? 

I can’t say exactly, there are too many things that could qualify as integral, but whatever I’d say in the next lines would be in the way of trying to get out of myself and to analyze myself as in an out-of-body experience, surely not astral one. I do not have a prepared answer to that, I am improvising. One way to look at it would be to point out that there are no people in my images and pinhole photography is definitely suitable for it. A few years ago I participated in a local photographic competition; I own this big studio Mamiya RB67 and I dragged it out in the most social streets of Sofia but in quite dead hours–between 6 AM and 7 AM on a Saturday, in the summer, I believe. No people. In the end of his conclusive speech the chairman of the competition jury–a recipe taught photo reporter with a lots of years of practice in his own words–said that every photograph should have people in it, that people make a photo what it is. I can’t remember the poor guy’s name but when you come across such a narrow-minded model of looking at photography it works as a sign that you are on quite a right path. 

Why pinhole? 

It gives me time, as much as I want, meaning that it gives me another way of looking at time, it presents me to time. The whole pinhole matter is a slow media and its really slow metabolism provides the opportunity of experiencing time in a different way (I realize this sounds like cliché). We experience the world in fragments, images, objects, which are getting faster and faster but still very differentiated from one another, we are starting to get more and more animalisticly responsive which deprives us from our imagination abilities; magic is absent. Opposed to that pinhole can possibly make you think in processes and thus expose your hibernating dreamy side back to you. You cannot see the whole spectrum of sun-paths by looking at the sky even if you have the patience and an iron retina, but solargraphic images show you exactly that burnt routes for the last six months, and from there you can start fantasizing about them. If a single solargraph is the answer to a riddle, what would be that riddle exactly? 

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice? 

Friends of mine used to tell me I like to register mostly trees and public housing buildings of the Soviet era, within my images. I think they got the impression by this big number of failures in my tryouts to find and capture emotional, dispositioned space. If I have to talk of a particular theme, yes, it will probably be space–forbidden, abandoned, transforming space that is likely not to be there the next time you visit it, or at least not in the form that you remember it. I will not get too long here but imagine a camera obscura as what it actually is–a separated camera, a dark secret chamber, a movable simple black box. Such a structural division defines a basic architectural ‘building’ bit here–the opposition of the inner to the outer. I am deeply fascinated by this not only as a trained architect but because as basic as it may seem, it opens great possibilities of constructing stories or metaphors–not in terms of architecture; architecture is only a reflection, it is an end product, an answer and rarely a question, a museum rather than a gallery. 

Has your practice change over time? If so, how? 

It gets more primitive and primitive. In time I have purchased quite a few film cameras and accessories, including pinhole ones made out of fancy wood, with precisely laser-drilled holes and so on, but I find that during the last years as I do not have so much time to take images, controversially I would rather make most things needed for such a photograph by myself, as a lonely ritual. And it is not about accommodating any box for a camera obsucra (although honestly, I always keep some beer cans for that purpose), it is about making a box from basic materials such as paper, cardboard, plywood, etc. It is probably a therapeutical approach, including the drilling of the tiny hole. 

Is there a specific piece you’re particularly proud of? And why? 

If talking of a camera, I love my medium format 6x6 Noon Pinhole from Poland, but it works with film, and I would like to go back to paper at least. A few months ago I got some Toyo 4x5 double sheet film holders, so one Sunday I had to make a camera for them with two of my students. The whole collaboration result leaked light heavily, and I am not sure if it is the camera or the holders, but I am truly surprised in the positive way by this leakage. It is authentic, and it is not me at all; it allows me not to be perfect. I feel like I have to make an analogy with a music project, and this would be the first album by an artist/producer Gonjasufi (A Sufi And A Killer from 2010): really dirty sound, like out of a demo, but very raw and personal, yet really authentic and deeply poetic. If you accept the mess, treasures await beyond. 

From whom do you draw the most inspiration? 

I really can’t say, but surely I would prefer not to refer to certain people here, although you surely find some names within this text feature. There are so many culturally bizarre things all around that I feed myself with. Probably I draw the most inspiration from a little bit of philosophy digested and split back in the form of classic cinema. Yummy. As Slavoj Zizek had put it once, in order to understand today’s world, we need cinema, literally. I’d add it is almost like being John Cusack in the end of Being John Malkovich. Well, in a nuanced voyeuristic way, not to be so sad as in the movie. 

What’s your dream project? 

To take pinhole pictures in Pripyat with Tarkovsky. No, really, it is a great dream, I could never achieve it as the guy is dead, and I am not sure that I would want to achieve it as I have read somewhere that Andrei was not exactly the easygoing type. If I have to land down a little and be more practical, I would answer that a next goal for the next few years would be to check the limits of large format by making my own sensitive media, really big for my standards, and curved–the possibilities of anamorphic pinhole photography are far beyond poetic as they could bring additional symbiotic meaning through seamless deformation of caught space. Then again, it’s not the spoon that bends. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I don’t get too many advices as producing pinhole images and boxes for them is quite a personal thing to me, and I rarely would want to share it, sharing here could be destructive in the way that retelling your dreams from last night is really spoiling them, nevertheless in a reversed order. However, showing some of the result images to the world, years after they were developed, is another story, a completely different thing, and it is not to be denied lightly. So, probably the best advice I’ve got was to make an Instagram account, as ordinary as it may sound.

Ian Beer.

Iʼm Ian Beer.

45 years young, photographer and 1st AC in commercials .and action sports. I shoot mostly landscapes, objects and the occasional portrait.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada but have been living in and around Vancouver BC since 1992. I shoot with all kinds of cameras, but my pinhole cameras are: 8Banners MB (multi format), 8Banners Dragon 2 (6x18) and a home made beer can cameras for Solargraphy. My “regular job” is camera based, but I make zero money off of my photos. At this point itʼs strictly for enjoyment and expression, but I do dream of one day getting paid to take photos.

What and why you do what you do?

I love cameras and photography and have been around them all of my life.

In the 70ʼs my Dad had a darkroom setup in the laundry room, and put on
slideshows regularly for us. As a teen I always had a point and shoot camera
with me, an SLR in my 20ʼs, and in my 30ʼs I started experimenting with different
cameras and films.

I started trying to achieve different perspectives and to make ordinary things
look less ordinary. Iʼve calmed down on the green people and all pink everything
but my stuff is still a little abnormal.

What’s integral to your practice?

With pinhole shooting I think you have to be able to visualize the shot more than
with a normal camera. Thereʼs no viewfinder on a beer can camera, and any
pinhole camera viewfinders Iʼve used only give you a best guess at what your
field of view is. For Solargraphy I use 3D view on the Sun Seeker app to cheat
and know where the sun is going to go over time. Not sure itʼs integral but it
definitely helps.

Why pinhole?

I started shooting pinhole cameras to really explore the idea of long exposures
and for the unique point of view it provides. I tried mounting pinhole cameras on moving things like my bike, to really push the effect of the long exposure and having one thing in focus with everything else streaky and abstract. I also like that you can create odd perspectives by placing a pinhole camera very close to objects or low to the ground. The illusion youʼre standing at the base of a giant object, or somewhere you canʼt actually be in real life.

As far as Solargraphy, I’m pretty sure a pinhole camera is the only way to do it.

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice?

Lately itʼs been Solargraphy. 3-6 month exposures ideally. I have 21 cameras out there currently and more built and ready to go. I try to
put a couple up every few weeks. My favorite part of a Solargraph is it shows you something that happens every day, but from an unseen perspective. Capturing time in an image using the
most basic of cameras and a piece of B&W photo paper. Kinda magic.

How has your practice changed over time?

Iʼve been refining my can cameras in a few ways, like a smaller pinhole for
sharper images, and covering them with camo duct tape so they wonʼt be
found so easily. I had 7 go missing at one park in less than a month, so Iʼm also
a lot pickier about where I put up cameras.

Iʼm also trying to be more careful handling wet paper negatives after nearly
ruining a couple recently.

Is there a specific piece you’re particularly proud of?

My bike mount 6x12 pinhole might be my favorite but I like how my Solargraphs
have been working out so far.

Sometimes itʼs the imperfections that make a Solargraph stand out. A
soaking wet paper neg, a camera that moved or was partially crushed by some
jerk or animal. Itʼs unpredictable and you never really know if your camera will even be there when you go to retrieve it.

One of my photos included had the fence it was attached to break loose during
the 99 day exposure, but I think it improved the result. Good mistakes.

Who’s your inspiration?

My friend Todd Duym introduced me to swing lens, pinhole cameras and
cross processing. I also tried my first pinhole photos on his balcony years ago
with his camera and pinhole lens. Thanks Todd!

My Dadʼs photography has always inspired me as well.

Other photographers Edward Burtynsky, Fred Herzog, Ian Ruhter, Chris
Brunkhart, Leonard Fong, Jussi Grznar, E.O. Goldbeck, Tony Welch, Dano
Pendygrasse, Blake Jorgenson, Scott Serfas and J. Grant Brittain. So many
others but these are favs.

People I follow on Instagram inspire me everyday with their images. Keep
creating and inspiring!

What’s your dream project?

Being paid to travel and shoot.

Egypt is top of the list. Easter Island, Mexico/Central America, Cambodia, Peru.
Anywhere else I havenʼt been. Shooting ruins and churches, architecture and
landscapes. Big budget, loose deadline, weird cameras.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

My friend Jason and I were discussing photos years ago, and something he said
stuck with me, and somewhat changed my outlook. I asked him if the photo we were discussing was film or digital, and I was hung up on what camera etc. He looked at me and said:

“… it doesnʼt matter what you shoot with, a good photo is a good photo.”

He elaborated further but somehow that simple statement made it so clear to
me… because he was right.

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