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.”
“In these images I am trying to give the viewer another gateway to reality.”
The aesthetic that Corine achieves within works such as ”The Wadden Sea” and ”Test of Time” is simply awe-inspiring. Her imagery transcends time.
I had to know what drew her to pinhole photography…
“I started pinhole on the advice of one of my teachers in art school, Philippe Moroux. When I was a second year student he told me that as a viewer, he could not get into my world. I was making table top landscapes in the studio at that time. The reason why he couldn’t get into my world was because of the very small depth of field. He used a pinhole camera himself and advised me to do that as well; because of the infinite depth of field.
I took his advice and started using the Robert Rigby pinhole camera we had in
school and I instantly fell in love with the whole pinhole process. Having no
control, the amount of time it takes to make an image, and of course the
atmosphere it adds to the image.”
‘Time’ seemed to be an overarching theme through Corine’s work (as I suppose it is for all pinhole photographs?), but I wanted to know whether there were any other themes she follows.
“Yes, there is always this theme of time, and also emptiness and loneliness. The form
in which you see it has evolved over the years but the themes in themselves have not. In the very beginning after I finished art school my themes were slightly
different. I wanted to show emptiness and went to empty, open and desolate
landscapes to show that. But I always looked for this small details on
the ground to show in the foreground of the image. It could be a little flower
or a stone, some moss or whatever. The theme of time wasn’t there yet. Showing these small details on the ground is also the reason that I started to
take images from a low perspective.”
If I could encourage you to do one thing today, it would be to absorb Corine’s art and feel yourself transported to another dimension. Every time I view this work I am immediately lost within the world it creates.
Thank you Corine.
Get lost in her website by clicking here. Make sure you pay special attention to ”Iceland”, because it is absolutely bloody gorgeous.
Benjamin’s imagery evokes an enormous, nurturing calm within me. His peaceful and idyllic landscapes boast a gorgeous array of colours, touched by such delicate light.
I asked him what it was that he believed to be integral to his practice. He told me; “Light. Purists will say you can take a good photo at any time of day. That’s true. But I’d rather shoot in the first hour after sunrise, or the last hour before sunset. That’s where special light can be found and that’s where you’ll find me.”
On the topic of what drives him photographically, he confessed; “I think my motives and influences kind of go back to my very first moments with a digital point-and-shoot camera years and years ago which coincided with my introduction to photography in general, and I was particularly smitten with this idea that I could take one of my own images and within seconds make it the desktop wallpaper on my computer. So that wired my brain to search for clean, arguably sparse, scenes that gave themselves as pleasant backdrops. A kind of minimalism I suppose. All this time later I don’t think I’ve really strayed from that. I’m kind of still just looking for desktop backgrounds.”
Needless to say, I had to find out what drew him to pinhole photography…
“Well, first I’d say I just love the aesthetic of the images.
Second, I’d say the time I spend at the doorstep of some beautiful landscape while I stand next to my pinhole as it takes an eight minute exposure is kind of like a form of meditation. I can’t and don’t want to go anywhere else or do anything else while it does the exposure, so I just sit there and take in the scene much like the camera does. Silently. Just absorbing what’s in front of me. It’s therapeutic. They’re my favourite moments.”
“Lastly, I think it’s all just in the evolution of simplicity for me. I switched from digital to film for the simplicity of it - to eliminate the hours spent post-processing in Photoshop, to eliminate the habit of frantically trying to fill a memory card while I never stop to appreciate what’s in front of me, and to eliminate the senselessly wasteful gadget-centricness of buying and upgrading gear all the time as digital photography wants you to do. When I switched to film I noticed that I started packing multiple film cameras everywhere, and that was arduous and cumbersome, so I kind of challenged myself to just start packing around the pinhole camera and a 35mm film camera to meter with and I just fell in love with it all after that.”
I’m in love with Benjamin’s perspective on light and his choices of how he utilises it within his art. I thoroughly urge you to make your way over to his website, where you’ll be able to give your eyeballs a right good treat.
Dan @ The Pinhole Society