Marie Girardin.

What would we do without social media?! Instagram has become a necessity in the running of this little blog. The fact I can connect with a pinhole practitioner in France (or anywhere in the world) at the click of a button (or a double tap ‘like’), is astounding.

Recently, I got in contact with Marie as, after following the beginning of her artistic journey on Instagram, I needed to pick her brain on her thoughts and feelings of pinhole! 

The way she talks about using a pinhole camera evokes a sense of optimism and delight - something that comes across in the exposures she uploads, and the ones she’s allowed me to feature here in the blog. 

Do yourself a favour on this Worldwide Pinhole Photograph Day and have a read of our discussion below.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Marie…

My name is Marie, I’m 31 years old, and I’m from Colmar, a picturesque town in Alsace, North-East of France. Mostly I’m a landscape photographer, I find I’m more in the mood to take pictures as I travel. I try to capture a moment, just as I experienced it: to remember and share it. That’s probably why I’m not into heavy editing!

What is integral to your practice? 

Experimenting, and sharing. What is interesting with a wooden camera, is that it attracts attention. So the “sharing” part is different than with a regular digital camera, it occurs even before the picture can be seen: when you are in the street capturing a picture, people are curious, puzzled, and almost every time they come and ask questions or share their memories of film cameras.

So, why pinhole? 

Fun story: my boyfriend and I gifted each other pinhole cameras as Christmas presents - a total coincidence! We each thought the process was interesting, and that it would be perfect for the other one ;) 

I received the 6x6 camera from Ondu, and now I also own the 6x12 Multiformat. What I love about pinhole, is that it is a basic, slow and think-before-you-shoot approach to photography. It’s quite the opposite of what I hate in digital photography - the “hardware race” with all those guys comparing the size of their lenses and the price of their 3 lb, 22MP cameras… I’m not interested!

Finally, the rendering of a pinhole photograph is so unique, with its very wide angle, slight distortion and vignetting. The pictures you want to take are completely different than those of another camera which means you start to think and see things differently. The result is always a travel back in time.

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice?

Landscape is always my theme of choice. But since I began using a pinhole camera, I’ve become very attracted to ‘cityscapes’ and street photography. I guess the very wide angle allows me to capture what I wasn’t capable of before. Although, being able to get the Strasbourg Cathedral in one shot was almost a challenge!

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

I started taking pictures with a pinhole camera in January, only three months ago, so I’m still very new to all this… 

However, I would say I am now less afraid to take pictures that *might* be a failure: I’m not thinking about “wasting” film anymore. The next step is allowing myself to take several pictures of the same place or the same subject, varying the angle and the exposure time. For now I’m still hoping to have 12 different perfectly framed and exposed pictures on a film, but it’s a risky bet considering my camera doesn’t even have a viewfinder!

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

I think the picture I’m the proudest of is the very first picture I took with my brand new pinhole camera. I was very afraid of ruining the film, so I figured that if I waited until the sun began to set, the longer exposure time would be more forgiving. 

I put the camera on a tripod in the living room, opened the shutter, ran to the armchair, tried to stay still while battling with my cat who wanted to be in the picture (but at the same time as being pet), waited until a calculated exposure time of 10 minutes, and ran back to the camera to close the shutter!

At the end, the picture looks so peaceful, you don’t notice anything. Magic.

From whom do you draw the most inspiration? 

Since I’m very new to pinhole photography, I was delighted to find a small but strong community of pinhole photographers on Instagram. Their work amaze me, they are very supportive and keen to give advice. I love seeing their pictures, and wondering how they manage the final result. It motivates me to experiment with double exposures, portraits, composition… I still have so much to learn!

What is your dream project? 

I would like to travel for a large amount of time, and be able to wait in a place until the conditions are optimal to take a picture. Taking pictures of the people I meet along the way would also be very fulfilling. Otherwise, building my own pinhole camera would be an awesome project!

And finally, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Best life advice ever, comes from my beloved boyfriend Adrien: ALWAYS USE A TRIPOD! :)

Will Gudgeon.

I have been following Will’s adventures since I myself became interested in pinhole photography. It was his sheer inventiveness that really opened my eyes to the possibilities of pinhole. When I started the Twitter handle to match this blog I obsessed over seeing all the behind-the-scenes posts he would upload (check his Twitter out here).

From Paddleboarding and Easter Eggs to Solargraphy, his work goes to show that through the simplicity of pinhole - anything is possible! 

He was recently gracious enough to take the time to answer a few questions I had for him…

Will, what do you do?

Around being a Husband, Dad to three kids and painting cars 40+ hours a week, I find what time I can to get out with my cameras.

I’ve been photographing with digital for years (mostly Landscapes) without a care for film, until I had a load of computer problems in 2014. Not being able to do anything with my digital files, I dug out a pinhole kit I got for Christmas a few years earlier and headed out on August 2nd 2014 to take my first pinhole. I got home, developed the paper and was hooked - not just on pinhole, but film.

Why stick with pinhole?

I love the simplicity of pinhole cameras, the fact you can make a pinhole camera out of most things is something that really appealed to me.

When I started with pinhole I made a lot of cameras with beer cans, old VHS cases and even managed a pinhole camera with a chocolate Easter egg.

While loving the homemade cameras I also brought a Zero Image 4x5 and ONDU multiformat pinhole camera.

I also love doing Solargraphy projects! I’ve set up many cameras over the last few years, also completing a couple of year long exposures capturing 2016 in one exposure.

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

I started out only using darkroom paper, which worked great for most things, but have since started exploring different films and, apart from sticking to the standard landscape stuff I had always done with my photography, starting to push it more into my daily life..

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

There are several pieces I’m proud of for many different reasons, the Solargraphy work particularly because of the time you spend waiting, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year to see your work, if the camera even survives that is.

But apart from that, I think it’s my Easter project with the image of The Crucifix with an Easter egg. It was a challenging project, the fact it even worked surprised me. I had the egg held together with elastic bands, hoping it wouldn’t soften too much that they would crush it - the pinhole was held in place with tape and elastic bands! I drove to the other side of town to get the picture, rushed back to get it developed as soon as possible, and it came out just how I had hoped.

From what, or who, do you draw the most inspiration?

When I started out I spent many hours looking through Justin Quinnell’s work, and still find his work very inspirational, but I find a lot of inspiration from many photographers. Being able to browse through social medias such as Facebook, 500px and Flickr, nowadays you can find many inspiring images and projects that people are doing.

What’s your dream project?

I don’t really have one particular project. Just to get out more, photograph more, travel more, find different ways to photograph things.

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

I’ve not ever really been given advice for photography, but something I’ve learnt is to do what you enjoy. It’s so easy to go out and photograph what gets the most “likes” to follow what everyone else is doing, becoming obsessed with sharpness, composition, pixels, gear, earning money from your work… 

Just get out and photograph what you love, in the way you enjoy the most.

As long as you love what you are doing, that’s all that matters.

Some of Will’s imagery is below. Once you’re done here, head over to Will’s website via this link.

Kathrena Rivera.

It is rare that we find an artist gifted with the ability to so perfectly tell a story with such a delicate amount of visual information. This minimally cinematic atmosphere contributes volumes to the aesthetic that Kathrena achieves. 

She also manages to accomplish such a bold physical texture in her exposures, even when displaying them through a screen. This texture contributes to the overarching ambiguous emotion that shrouds Kathrena’s work in a veil of quiet mystery. It gives me the impression that each exposure is the recounting of a memory, and what we are seeing are the pinnacle of someones hopes, dreams and desires. 

Please, continue reading to see Kathrena’s own words whilst exploring her visual narrative over at

In your own words, what do you do? 

I make images that are intended to speak to the stillness and natural “quiet” found in moments of solitude. I’m drawn to capturing figures, often just one lone figure in silhouette form, quietly interacting with their surroundings. I often use monochrome film and plastic or “low-quality” cameras to enhance the atmosphere and mood of the scene.

Why do you do what you do? 

I’m compelled to. It’s difficult to explain the “why” of it. It’s a strong desire. I’m always looking around me and when I see that moment I just stop, admire it, then make an image of it. There is also this desire to share it-to see if there are a few others who see the beauty in these moments as well.

What is integral to your practice? 

The tools and the light. My images are the products of low light situations and long long exposures. A healthy dose of wanderlust helps me find the areas to shoot as well. Why pinhole? I love the dreamy quality pinhole lends to an image. The subtle blur around the periphery, the hint of movement. Pinhole takes the onlooker into an entirely different view of the scene from what we see with our naked eye. The view becomes less stark-more like looking at a memory-hazy around the edges and intangible.

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice? 

Absolutely. I’ve become a picky photographer. The majority of my work is theme based. I do usually go out on a photowalk with a particular image already floating in my mind. The themes that most often pop up in my pieces are solitude, wistfulness, memory and desire. Not the romantic kind of desire-but the “want” side of it.

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

I started photography at a very young age. It’s gone through so many evolutions I can say with all honesty; “I’ve practically tried it all”. My area of focus has settled on the Fine Art side of the craft. I work to create images that are conduits for stories, or at least the beginning scene of a story. They are not simply there to look pretty or have people say “What a beautiful view.”-it’s more along the lines of “What is that person doing there? What just happened? What is going to happen?”. That story-beginning side of Fine Art Photography is where I’m becoming most comfortable. This is a change from my previous work in photography. I used to make photos of literally everything! I craved to just shoot away. I’ve been enjoying the transition to being more selective in what I choose to open the shutter for.

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

Solitary (see below). My pinhole image of a man waist deep in the ocean, looking out at the horizon. This was one of those images where I had that “Yes!” feeling as soon as I exposed it. That rare and often random image when you just know you captured exactly what you wanted to convey.

From whom do you draw the most inspiration? 

Often it’s music or a song inspires me! I will be doing something completely mundane, like washing dishes or driving, and hear a song and it inspires a feeling. The lyrics conjure an image or memory. I will often put that song on repeat for awhile and think up an image based on it. Within days I’m out trying to mimic that thought with the film and pinhole. A few of my favorite images were created with headphones on! Besides that there are so many of my contemporary photographers that really inspire me. I’m constantly amazed at the beauty we’re putting out there as an artist community. We learn from each other for sure and I can name a few that I definitely draw creative juice from: Nils Karlson, Shane Balkowitsch, Susan Burnstine, S. Gayle Stephens, James Wigger….to name just a few!

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

A good friend and fellow photographer, Vincent Lawson, told me about his first moment of serious critique. A photograph he treasured was basically “ripped apart” by a mentor telling him it wasn’t good. Even after the criticism he looked at that picture with love for what it meant for him. I loved the story and this is what I took away from it: Shoot what you want. Create images of what you love. Even if they do not speak to others they speak to you-you are their creator-it’s all about what YOU want to see.

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