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

Justin Quinnell.

A fair few years ago, I graduated from Falmouth University in Cornwall, England with a Bachelor of the Arts in Photography.

Although I didn’t know it then, during my very first week in my very first year I took a workshop on Pinhole Photography led by none other than Justin Quinnell.

Unbeknownst to me, that workshop would birth a love for Pinhole Photography that guided me through my degree and has continued to inspire my own creative process ever since.

Justin’s work is simply mad. Another word I’d enjoy using to describe it would be ‘bonkers’. Yet others would be; intriguing, immersive and entirely captivating.

“If you’re interested in something and find something fascinating. You’re not wrong.”

Turn your attention to The Life Of A Pinhole Photographer - Justin Quinnell, a short documentary-style video on, well, a day in the life of Justin! In it, he tells us what it is about Pinhole that is so attractive to him and why it can be such an incredible form of image making that literally anyone can get stuck into.

His gallery, is filled to the brim with a life time of photographic exploration. Armed with his limitless imagination, Justin pushes the boundaries of what we understand to be a camera by consistently reinventing it.

The message is clear: Pinhole can be achieved by anyone. Simply because there is no incorrect way of doing it.


Dan @ The Pinhole Society

Todd Schlemmer.

I’ve been a follower of ‘The Schlem’ for quite some time now and one of my favourite things about this man is that he constantly surprises me with his persistently innovative eye and originality. 

FED мутант’ is, in short, one of the most subtly handled collection of black and white pinhole photography I’ve come across to date. His Flickr account is awash with experimentation - a testament to the dedication to the advancement of his art (click here to take a peak at the magnitude of his genius). His extraordinary results serve to compliment said dedication. I consider him a forefront in a ‘contemporary’ pinhole scene. 

With the sheer myriad of work Todd has produced, I felt it necessary to ask whether or not he has one particular piece he’s especially proud of. To which he replied:

“My wife and I traveled to Amsterdam for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day last year, meeting up with a bunch of amazing (pinhole) photographers from all over Europe and the US. For the most part, no one had ever met face to face before, having only interacted on Facebook and Twitter. It was a grand social media experiment and it totally rocked. We rendezvoused in Portland, Oregon this year. We’re planning to meet
in Barcelona, Spain next year.

All of which is a preamble to this anecdote: On our return from Amsterdam, we spent a few days in London and then a few more in Reykjavik, Iceland. We bombed around Reykjavik and tasted whale and quaffed $10US Icelandic beer. On the way to the airport, we arranged for a slight side trip to the Blue Lagoon, a silica-rich hot springs spa (that is actually the outfall of a geothermal power generating station, but I digress).
It was expensive, and the spa charged extra money for things like towels and
lockers and flip flops. I was grumpy about leaving Europe, I felt like I hadn’t
seen enough Iceland, and now the vikings were prying my wallet open just as I
was needing to leave. After soaking for a while, we snacked on overpriced and
unremarkable sandwiches in the last minutes before we had to catch the bus to
the airport. I was done. 

And then I heard a voice in my head bemoaning that I may never return to this beautiful and other-worldly place. The voice asked me why the hell I carry cameras with me. I weighed my exhaustion and mood against photographic possibilities. I left Beehive to finish her lunch and quickly stepped outside with my light meter and camera.”

Please, do take a moment to view the stunning result, ’Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik, Iceland’ below.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, please take the time to follow those links and treat your brain to some phenomenal art. For now though, I’ll leave you with Todd’s own words, for they are surely much clearer than my own…

“I guess I’d call it whole brain photography: Designing a camera in software is very left brain, and using that camera to make photographic art is very right brain. Ultimately, the technology of photography is numerical and analytical, but the art of photography comes from aesthetics, vision, and imagination. I feel like I am still trying to refine my style, but certain patterns and themes emerge in the thousands of pinhole photographs I have made.”

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