Markus Kaesler

Admin’s note, I can see it might be a little unusual to start with some spiel from me but so it goes. Markus is a genius and you really need to check his work out. I’d also suggest you take a listen to the Obscura Book episode of The Pinhole Podcast as I interviewed Markus and it gives a good insight into the way he works. OK, on with the show!

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

My name is Markus Kaesler and  I am based  in Germany.

Tell us a little about the type of pinhole photography you enjoy.

I mostly shoot black and white sheetfilm up to 8×10 inches.

Reduction is increasingly a central motif in my work. The simplification of form, the return of photography to its most basic optical rules, and the subsequent reduction in colour, form the basis of my photographic work.

The resulting implementation, with self-made pinhole cameras, I see as a logical consequence of this: an art of “Less is more,” which for me is an antidote to a time I experience as fast moving and restless.

Not only in the conceptual approach but also in the actual working process. I am fascinated by the possibilities this confrontation with fundamental photographic basics offers me, in the conceptual and compositional area as well as in the selection of the materials.

For each project and series, I choose specific films and papers. I prefer the use of traditional materials, and I try to use their characteristics in such a way that material and imagery together create a harmonic and coherent whole.


Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual? 

A little more unusual? Aside of shooting regular pinhole I also shoot with cameras that use a slit made out of two razorblades as aperture. You see, it is all quiet usual. Admin’s note, I think I might need to change this question. For the dedicated Pinholista this all seems perfectly normal, but for those new to the hobby I can hear the cries of “WHAT!!!” I guess we have to accept that what is normal for us might not be so for those tied to the lens.

Do you use off the shelf cameras, home-made or a mix?

Actually I love building cameras and I build all the cameras I use for my projects. Since I am working in projects and themes, I mostly build a different camera, or at least I drew a specific hole for each of these projects.

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

My favorite pinhole cameras are those with the 4×5″ inch format. I can use sheetfilm and they are still small enough to travel.


How long have you shot pinhole?

I started around the beginning of the millennium

Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

It is a long story. My first approach to pinhole photography was a project the brought me to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I was looking for the appropriate way of capturing these incredible monuments that have been build with nearly no technical help. I ended up with shooting pinhole. Admin’s note, there is a book of Markus’ images from Angkor Wat, called “Angkor through a pinhole”, if you can find a copy I’d recommended checking it out, there are some beautiful images contained within.

You’ve given us a few images to share, tell us about them. 

the images I send you are a little overview about what I do.

a) Angkor Wat. There it all started. My first series using exclusively pinhole photography. Admin’s note, this is the featured image on this post. The rest are shown in order, I’m logical like that.

b) Shapes of structure: handhold pinhole of architecture. Admin’s note, Markus is steady as a rock, I’ve seen him handhold images for minutes. I refer you to my opening comments.

c) Dummy: using pinhole with flash and artificial light under studio conditions. Admin’s note, Markus has also kindly shared an image of his studio set-up, but you’ll have to read all the way through to the end to see it.

d) Razorblade forest: not a hole, but two razorblades forming slit as aperture.

e) Shadows on concrete: I love playing with shadows.


Do you shoot individual images or do you work within themes or on projects?

I love to shoot themes and projects.It helps me to follow a path. At the beginning of a project I mostly do not know, where it will guide me to. As far as I experienced most projects lead to new ideas. It is somehow like a tree of life.

I discovered that even when intentionaly shooting individual images, I am ending up in topics and themes I was already in contact with earlier in my life.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

Yes. Admin’s note, I have to expand on this a little. Markus shows his work regularly, and I’m disappointed to miss a recent show of his own 365 project. There are a few twists to this project but I won’t spoil those surprises, you can just head over here to check it out.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

There are several pinhole photographers their work I really admire. Among those are people I also met in person as Jesús Joglar or Alex Yates (Admin blushes at this point, no link as you’re already here) and people I only know by their work like Herschel Pollard.

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

Indeed, I do. Most of the other stuff I do is stage photography. Admin’s note, again check out Markus’ site here for some of his stunning jazz photography.


Assuming you do shoot other styles, do you prefer pinhole and if so, why?

I can not really answer this question. It is like asking a father which of his children he likes the best.

Finally, where can people see your work, do you have a website?

I have ;)

Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your work with

So there you go kids, another Pinholista and one who I really admire (apologies for gushing a little about Markus’ work). All images are Markus’ copyright and must not be used in any form without prior permission so play nicely or we’ll take our ball home. Happy shooting!