The Beauty of Analogue

As part of my masters thesis, I was interested in pinhole cameras, and how something so simple can product an image so filled with details and complexities.

Here are some of the test images that came about while I was experimenting with creating my own pinhole camera. The tests start out at the most basic, testing to see if the chemicals worked and progress on to finding the most ideal exposure time, aperture size and changes in ‘lens’.

These images were created on 300GSM watercolour paper that was made photosensitive by painted on liquid emulsion.

In each experiment, I have the ‘negative’ image, the constraints of how the image came about, both in exposure and chemical post processing and a digitally ‘flipped’ positive of the negative image.

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The earliest experiments showed that I wasn’t washing a print for long enough, and exposing the photograph for too long.

 

True to the nature of analogue photography, sometimes, my print would simply ‘fail’ by some type of human or unexplained error. There was much excitement once the recipe of creating a photo was almost ‘right’ and I could start seeing some crisp images emerging from the darkroom.

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Frustrations were often experienced as one day’s ‘perfect’ formula would not work on other days due to changes in brightness and natural light, or a change between indoors and outdoors.

 

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Changes in aperture really created interesting, noticeable differences in the output of the image (as expected), effecting clarity and depth of field

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Some of the best prints were the ones where something serendipitous occurred, creating a unique, irreplaceable image.

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Ultimately, this experimentation bought back to me some of the amazement I had had when I was learning about film photography and highlighted the ‘magic’ of how simple primitive cameras had the capacity to create such detailed images.