James Guerin

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself

Hi! My name is James Guerin, I’m from Limerick in Ireland and  live in the west of France near Nantes. 42 (eek!) and married with 2 kids.

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

I like to shoot pinhole on film and the odd time paper too. In the beginning (2005) I played around with digital but quickly found that ‘size matters’ in the pinhole world and digital sensors just don’t have the real estate to compare with film. I shoot both black and white and colour and use a variety of self built cameras. I home develop everything I shoot and I enjoy that part of the process too. I like to go and explore places with my camera. Towns and cities or the coast. I look for shapes and compositions first and worry about light afterwards. Most of my work occurs in winter and my images are probably full of introspection… but I like to just make the pictures and not ask the questions. The experience of taking the pictures is as important to me as the images, and that is where the pinhole shines. It’s as raw as photography gets. Admin’s note, I think for many Pinholistas (at least for me…and so I generalise) the process of making the image is really important. Its a way to escape the everyday grind, and I find that vital.

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual?

Yes I do like to experiment. In fact I think my work is an endless series of experiments. I’m shooting alot of X-ray film lately as you can get it cheaply in crazy huge sizes (though 8×10’’ is as big as I’ve gone so far). You can also develop it in regular B&W chemistry and under a red light too so  it’s really forgiving exposure wise. Under-expose and you can just let it sit in the developer long enough and an image will appear.

Regarding unusual cameras I’ve built a multi cell pinhole camera that’s a lot of fun (as featured on the Phoblographer) but I mostly shoot ultra-wide angles and curved film plane panoramic cameras. Admin’s note, not just fun but stunning!

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

I’ve actually never shot a pinhole camera that I didn’t make. I only shoot my own cameras. Not only the RealitySoSubtle cameras that I make and sell (shame-less plug!) but I have a few others too, the ones that had led to the designs that I sell. Maybe that means that I do shoot off the shelf cameras? :)

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

I couldn’t pick one really. It depends on where I’m going. If I’m shooting in a city I’d want a wide angle 120 film 6×6 or 6×9 but if I was going somewhere quiet to shoot landscape I’d take my 8×10’’ pinhole with 4 or 5 double dark-slides loaded up with x-ray film. I don’t like it when I have more than a dozen or so cameras at any one time – it’s starts to bother me when I don’t use them so I move them on. Admin’s note, if only I had such discipline – I refuse to count!

How long have you shot pinhole?

In 2005 a friend introduced me to it and the great F295 forum. I was round his house for dinner and we were talking photography and he showed me the body cap he had made for his DSLR, I had a few goes with it and that was it. I was completely hooked. Around that time I got involved with the f295 site which was buzzing with enthusiastic pinholers and great people. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about pinhole photography has been discussed on that site.

Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

I just loved it from the get go. It’s magic. Once you scratch the surface you can keep digging into an endless world of imaging possibilities. You can keep it simple if you like or you can science the ‘shit out of it’!

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

The first one is a diptych slit-scan pinhole image of my wife and our dog, she was then pregnant with our daughter. I had her pass the camera a few times while I cranked the film winder so I the film was moving during the exposure. These were the 2 best ‘frames’. There was fair bit of maths needed to make these crude photos. The camera was an old German folder that I modified into a pinhole camera and then placed a 1mm wide slit behind the pinhole. These pinhole ‘slit-scans’ led to a near obsession with creating ‘perfect’ slit scans with a 35mm SLR… a story for another day.

The one of me on the bike with my shadow was made with a 6×6 I made from a kiev back. That one had a cool Polaroid mp3 shutter and I was experimenting with ‘fast’ pinhole.. I shot a lot of neopan 400 pushed to 1600 at 1/15th and 1/30th of a second.

Then there’s the 8×10’’ multi-cell images that I shot a shoe-box camera.

The square photo of the tree (I love trees!) is from my latest camera, a 24mm 6×6 camera with a built in 52mm filter ring. This photo was made with a 3 minute exposure using an ND32 filter.

There’s a couple 8×10” pinholes there (both shot on X-ray film) – one of the statue of ‘Sammy’ on the beach at Saint Nazaire and another of a ‘Super-grip’ logging machine in the La Garvre forest.

The remainder are some 6×17 panoramic images that I shot in Clare (Ireland), not far from ‘home’.

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

I tend to shoot individual images or sets of images. I don’t give this much thought really… I should. I spend too much time thinking about cameras and not enough about images! Admin’s note, this is something I’ve been pondering a lot recently – I kind of feel I should be shooting themes but I’m not sure I have the discipline.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

I’ve never had an exhibition of my work but I’ve had my cameras and some of my images featured in books and magazines. An exciting project I’ve recently been involved in is ‘New Photodynamism’.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

Nicolai Morrisson – not sure if he’s even shooting pinhole anymore but this set on Flickr is just amazing and I keep coming back to it.

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

Yes, I spend way too much time on my slit-scan camera and trying to perfect the mechanics of it. The images from it look nothing like ‘reality’ and this is something that I love about photography. If you want to have a look at these you can find them here on my Flickr.

I’m also doing battle with an eighty year old Kodak Panoram 3a swing lens camera that I’m trying to get to shoot 4×10” negatives, I’m nearly there! I have regular cameras too and shoot them every so often but I love the odd-balls.

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

I do prefer pinhole. It’s simple and the gear is light and uncomplicated. Also, you’re never looking through a camera so you remain ‘present’ and connected to your surroundings. I like that a lot. You only have two things to think about, where to point the camera and how long to expose for. That’s it.

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

You can see my work on my Flickr feed, my Instagram, and you can find my cameras here.

Admin’s note, as always this work is the copyright of the Pinholista, in this case James Guerin. Please respect that or we will Science the Shit out of you. As ever, if you’d like to be featured on Pinholista then please get in touch.

Miscellaneous Pinholista Excitement

So…let’s start with the exhibition. As you’ll see from the poster above, there is a super new pinhole exhibition coming up in Heidelberg, called the Art of Pinhole. Part of the OFF Foto festival, this will showcase work from a global selection of pinhole photographers. Artists participating include some great friends of mine, and I guess I should mention that I will be showing some images from my series A Short Walk in the Dark. The vernissage is on 12th October (more details on location and time via the link), it would be super-cool to see you there is you can make it.


I also want to draw your attention to Earth Stands Still, a new photobook by Nils Karlson, who has featured here on Pinholista. Nils’ book is now up on Indiegogo and you can contribute here. The images contained within are wonderful, although I am not sure the Landscape Dog features. One of my favourite aspects of the book is that is mixes pinhole and lens-based images, something I am exploring myself.

Nils has been kind enough to send me some more information and to provide the images used in this post, so here’s the verbatim press release and launch of Earth Stands Still.

After two years of preparation, photographer Nils Karlson launches the crowdfunding campaign for his first photo book Earth Stands Still on Saturday, October 1st on Indiegogo.

The 25cm x 20cm (a little smaller than 8“x10“) hardcover book features 40 photos over the spread of 80 pages, accompanied by written contributions by Brian Richman, Marie Westerbom, and the author himself. Printed on matte Mundoplus Recycling offset paper at a highly eco-certified facility in Germany, Earth Stands Still invites the reader on a journey into the silence of Nils Karlson’s minimal, elegant, and often abstract seascapes.

The story of the book is based on the concept of Bardo, as described in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Bardo can be translated as „intermediate state“, originally describing the state of existence between two earthly lives, a state of transcendence, a concept of existence without beginning or end. This translates directly into the photos of the author: Silent and vast spaces, where the eye can wander without obstacles.

Several editions of the book are available: A Standard Edition (€30), a Print Edition (€70), and a Print Edition – Deluxe (€120) in a total of 100 copies. By placing a pre-order on Indiegogo, each buyer contributes directly into the making of the book until the goal of €2400 is met. This will enable the author to have 100 copies printed. Every copy of Earth Stands Still will be signed and numbered, and the name of every backer will be mentioned in a special thank you list in the book.

Auther Nils Karlson is 41 years old and live in Germany. All photos in the book are exposed on Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160, Fuji Pro 160ns and Fuji Pro 400h film, using Mamiya RB67, Mamiya 6, and Zero Image 2000 cameras.


Nils Karlson

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

My name is Nils Karlson, and I live in one of the most populated areas in Germany, where I make a living as a social worker. My heart beats for my dogs, photography, music, travelling, coffee and cookies (and my wife, obviously!). Admin’s note, I almost felt the need to edit this, if only to save Nils some trouble if his wife reads this!

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

Like all my photography at present times, I work with medium format negative colour film exclusively (apart from the occasional large format pinhole). It seems like colour is my realm – it just feels right.

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual?

Just some expired film stocks when I can find something cheap and interesting. But I have backed Galaxy Hyper Speed to create a direct positive photo paper. And I would really love to experiment with instant photography, but have not taken the time to find out what is still out there. The demise of instant film is a tragedy.

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

All cameras were made by someone else – I once attempted to make a pinhole camera from an existing Polaroid back, but it never happened.

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

These days it is the ZeroImage 6×6 and my 6×12 and 4×5 Reality So Subtle cameras. They never get in the way of a photo, and their optical aesthetics are pleasing to me – just the right mix of sharpness and unsharpness and fall-off. I had other cameras which probably had a nicer feel in the hands, but optically, these just did not give me the right mix. The 6×6 is all natural for me, while I still need to get used to the 6×12’s field of view.

How long have you shot pinhole?

I exposed the first roll of film in the ZeroImage in December 2014. Photography is quite new to me, having started around late 2012. Admin’s note, to me though (and I may be wrong) Nils’ photographs suggest there’s been an artist at work for some time before starting photography. Nils’ use of colour particularly suggests this.

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Why did you start shooting pinhole?

I think it came from the very urge to simplify my life, my photography and get away from a techy approach. It coincides with switching from slide film to colour negative emulsions, making everything less complicated. I do love the simplicity of the pinhole camera – it just does not need all this…stuff. Like a lens! I mean, how much more reduced can a camera be than a box with a tiny hole in it? No finder, no focus, no fuzz.

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

I tried to share a mix of what I usually do – exploring seascapes –  and photos which emerged from a different mindset, like the house and the old cabinet. Roaming coastal landscapes is my safe place, where I can find peace and silence. The vast areas, the expanse of the ocean – you will not find this anywhere near my hometown. So it is not too astounding when I look for the most quiet and serene photos I can make.

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Have you ever exhibited your work?

I have an exhibition running at a local café, which is nice. But most of my works can be found online. While writing these words, I am waiting for the test print of my very first book entitled “Earth Stands Still” I plan to publish late 2016. It will also feature a chapter of pinhole photos, and I hope to bring it to life through a crowdfunding campaign starting late September or probably October. Admin’s note, please keep an eye out on this post as I will update with the link to the campaign when available.

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

Well…both, I guess. Most often an individual image might lead to a series, and I find a cohesiveness in a body of work essential. When I can sense a series, I try to dig deeper, and dive into it. Like the ever ongoing “Earth Stands Still” series, which is inspired by the concept of the Bardo and transcendence in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. But there are also some individual images which can stand alone, like the cabinet or the deceased bird.

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Do you shoot other styles of photography?

Besides my pinhole based works, you will also find me on the coastlines working with “standard” film cameras (the ones with a lens), creating minimalist long exposures of the ocean. This is also the way I work with the pinhole cameras, but at an even slower pace. Pinholes are known not to be “fast” cameras, but working with a “standard” camera and a ton of ND filters, the long exposures usually vary between 4 minutes and more than an hour. I also work a lot with Intentional Camera Movements, multiple exposures, and combinations of these two. When I am making photos of my dogs, I am much more spontaneous (I could not help it, but I just have to drop the “unleashed” pun. So here it is. You’re welcome.), crawling on my knees, with the camera on eye level of my dogs.

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

It depends on the mood and my subject. When I want to make photos of my dogs, I leave the pinhole camera at home. But when I am in the landscape, at least one pinhole camera will have its place in my bag. Also, all cameras are used at the same time on some occasions – so when I have a 60+ minutes exposure running, there’s loads of time to grab a pinhole, and make some exposures. And while the pinhole exposure, there’s still time to grab another camera for some spontaneous shots. I wish I could say it is all calm, contemplate, and Zen when I start an exposure, but in reality it can become a bit of a frenzy. I have come to accept that. But there are also the very calm and silent moments, where I enjoy the simplicity and absolute quiteness of the pinhole camera. It does not even make “click”.

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Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

Actually, there are three photographers I’d like to talk about. They all have in common that no matter what kind of camera they use, they always create such amazing and recognizable works! And they all are brilliant with the pinhole. First there’s Aimee Lower (USA), whom I gave my Ondu 6×6 camera after I realized its optic aesthetics do not resonate with me. Aimee has such a fresh approach to the scene, her works convey the colours of joy, without beeing “too loud”. When I look at her photos, I feel like a kid in a candy store.

Then there’s Lucy Wainwright (UK). She is one of the most free, bubbling and boundless spirits I have ever witnessed. Her photos are always pushing borders, messing with different cameras, messing with chemicals, messing with the mess and creating such a vivid perspective on the world. Her photos are like fairytales – not Disney-like, but more… European… Astrid Lindgren probably. They convey more depths, more layers, the sun, and the abyss, and everything in between.

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Last but not least there is Marie Westerbom (SWE). Her photos  are very mysterious, and carry wisdom beyond the known. They often give a sense of what could be, and the rest is open to your imagination. Plus, I had the chance for a collaboration through the Film Shooters Collective, and bouncing off ideas was delightful, eloquent and a wonderful learning experience for me. Admin’s note, one of things I love about Pinholista is the chance to both introduce new photographers, and have those photographers whose work I admire, and then have those photographers introduce even more artists for me to check out and admire (in this case Marie is a friend of Pinholista, but Aimee and Lucy are new to me). Thank you Nils.

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

While a personal website is still under construction, you can see my photos on Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram.

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

Thank YOU for giving me an opportunity to share my works and my thoughts. Photography has become a driving force in my life, and while I grew up being a musician, I found a means of communication which excels what I have been able to do before. It is a pleasure to see this validated by other people, who may share a similar vision.

Admin’s note, as always this work is the copyright of the Pinholista, in this case Nils Karlson. Please respect that or the Landscape Dog will give you a nuzzle.

Todd Schlemmer

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

My name is Todd Schlemmer, but, online, I typically truncate all those consonants to “(the) Schlem”. I live in Seattle, Washington, in the upper left corner of the USA. I’ve been making photographs since I was a kid.

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

I make pinhole photographs with film, usually with cameras I have designed, 3D printed, and assembled.  I go back and forth between color and black and white, but I’m presently infatuated with the depth and dimension of luscious color slide films. I shoot almost exclusively medium format 120, for the large frames and because it can so easily be used in so many different ways.  I have 4X5 (5X4 for the UK crowd) cameras, but lately, I use them with 120 film backs.

The craft of pinhole photography – making a camera, understanding and handling film, metering exposures – these are, for me, as important as the resulting photographs.  My pinhole photography has evolved over the years, from proof-of-concept, to technical proficiency, and hopefully into a vocabulary for visual narrative. Admin’s note, we’ll let others decide but I have always been a fan of Todd’s pinholes, they are generally wonderful and the Schlem is generally too modest.


Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual?

One of the benefits of making your own cameras is that you are not constrained by existing tools.  Although I make most of my cameras primarily for me, I freely share all the designs, and there’s a small intercontinental tribe of people using my cameras. Some of my favorite designs are the result of suggestions by friends or special requests.  

I have designed a few cameras in the last year that I really enjoy shooting.  One is the “Two-headed Turtle” or 2HT, a stereo pinhole camera in 6X6 format. I love the immersive experience of viewing the stereo photos I make with the 2HT.  They’re hard to share, however, requiring either free-viewing skill or anaglyphic (red/blue) glasses.  

Another recent favorite is a 4X5 with extreme short aperture-film (“focal length”) spacing. I designed the P5 MUTO around 4X5 120 film backs, as shooting this camera with sheet film would simply waste the periphery, due to severe vignetting.  The pinhole on the MUTO is also in a plate that rotates in 60 degree increments to allow for asymmetrical perspectives.  The very low oblique angle of incidence through the pinhole at the margins can make for violent color shifts and diffraction effects. It’s a fun camera to shoot, and the distortions continue to delight me.

The terraPin Kaiju is a 6X18 that shoots a concentric wide angle panorama. The negatives / slides are so big that I had to 3D print a special film holder for my scanner. As wonderful as the photos are, the inconvenience of scanning disincents me from using it until I have scanned the previous rolls. Admin’s note, nobody likes scanning…scanning sucks balls so praise all that is good for wonderful labs (with a little shout out here to Canadian Film Lab).

I have tried shooting instant with Fuji Instax, but my success rate is discouraging. I have made anamorphic cameras from tins for friends, but I really want to make an anamorphic that uses roll film. I haven’t made a blender yet, and other projects include a 135 camera, and solargraphic cameras – including an analema project suggested by Jesús Joglar.


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

I tend to shoot my own cameras almost exclusively, but I have a Zero Image 2000, and the new Mark II Ondu 135 pano. Whenever I design a new camera and release the source files into the wild, I want to demonstrate that they work as advertised.  However, I am moving away from banal demonstration exposures to more thoughtful work, even with new untested cameras. Admin’s note, this is a good thing, I tend to shoot really tedious exposures for my first roll and I am trying to move away from that. 

Though I love the cult and fetishism of precious wooden boxes, I also appreciate the simplicity and flexibility of cardboard and gaffer tape cameras. 3D printed cameras fall somewhere in the middle, I think. There are so many beautiful pinhole cameras out there, but I think everyone should build at least one. I also have a laser cut plywood camera kit that I haven’t assembled and a plastic Japanese stereo pinhole camera.  

I should mention that I make all my own pinholes.  You can find precisely laser-drilled apertures on the Internet, but they’re spendy.  Making a pinhole is easy, cheap, and, surprisingly, not the most critical part in making a pinhole camera.  Good enough is definitely good enough. The pinhole can always be changed, too if you don’t like how it works.

(Ed: ALWAYS love to talk about the cameras. Haven’t shared much about the design and build process…)


What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

This is a difficult question.  The terraPin Prime is the culmination of all I have learned about making cameras, it’s small, and I really like the simplicity of the design – especially the shutter. It’s a minimalist camera, has few parts, fewer bits of hardware and shoots a classic wide angle pinhole 6X6 frame. The tripod mounting threads are also 3D printed! I modeled it to be easy to print and assemble, but It’s become my go-to compact shooter lately. Right now, It’s much closer to cardboard and gaffer tape than fine woodworking.  I want to refine it to be completely hardware-free (except the pinhole, obviously), using sliding joinery to open, close, and lock the camera.

How long have you shot pinhole?

I started this adventure seven summers ago with the construction of my first pinhole camera, a huge wooden box constructed out of basswood and doorskins…and all the brass gewgaws I could find at the hardware store.  I made so many mistakes in building that camera, and trying to run 120 film through it… I had light leaks, and fat rolls, and indexing problems. If it had worked perfectly I would have probably stopped right then, but it didn’t.  So, I built a few more cameras, and got incrementally better results.

When I built my first 3D printer a few years ago, I wondered if I could design and 3D print a camera. Again, so many mistakes, but they worked and the technology allowed me to iterate improvements in hours, rather than in the week it might take with carpentry.  As I solved some of the technical and film-related problems, and refined my process, I started making more artistic photographs.


Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

I’ve always enjoyed learning how to make and do things.  Projects have always been a part of my life. Pinhole sprang from my life-long interest in photography, as a slightly obsessive personal challenge to build such a device and make real photographs in the process.  More importantly, I kept shooting pinhole because it wasn’t easy. Technical and artistic challenges keep me interested and the wonderful community of pinhole photographers keep me inspired with their genius, creativity, talent and fellowship. Admin’s note…and there’s the thing isn’t it? The pinhole community is incredible, I love it and I love my part in it. I guess if you’re reading this you are part of it but if not, get in touch and we can make plans.

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

The thuggish man standing with a firearm is a self portrait I made for the “Slowing the Selfie” show. The gun has a laser sight and I flashed the laser across the pinhole for a fraction of a second. You can discern actual quantum effects in the interferences of the diffracted laser light. I used a terraPin 6X9 f/178 camera with a remote servo-operated shutter.

The red man was shot on Lomography red scale film in Tacoma, Washington, in front of an historic train station. This was my first time using red scale, and shot during a SCOPES (see below) pinhole meetup. This was shot with the terraPin Prime f/135

There’s a bit of a slide show from my recent trip to Barcelona for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. The Gothic interior was shot with the MUTO super wide pinhole camera on Kodak Ektar. Even though the pinhole is only an inch from the film, I use a relatively slow f/165 to mitigate the exposure across several stops of falloff to the edges.  Continuing the theme of holy architecture by the MUTO, there is a black and white exterior of the Cathedral of Barcelona on Ilford Panf+, shot on WPPD. The shot of the atrium outside the basilica of Montserrat was made in the middle of a huge crowd of tourists/pilgrims; Ektar.

The bullring is in Valencia, Spain. It’s a classic brick bullfighting arena and I just discovered that Nirvana made their Spanish debut there in 1992. In true punk rock style, I was kicked out by security the night before for sneaking in without permission. What can I say? The light was amazing; I had to get some pinhole.  terraPin Prime, Velvia 50.

The plaza with the postcards and mailbox was shot with the Prime, outside the Catedral de Granada. Photos like this are the reason I love Velvia 50.

The queue in front of the United airliner was also made with Velvia 50 in the Prime. This was during a recent SCOPES meetup.  

Lastly, I have included two versions of a stereo pair made with the terraPin Two-Headed Turtle.  This was also made on WPPD, and might be my favorite shot of Barcelona. The building is the Palau de la Música Catalana, and the Catalonian flag is draped over the balustrade, flying in the breeze. The anaglyph requires red/blue 3D glasses, but the side by side pair can be viewed by crossing your eyes until a middle image converges in 3D. It takes practice, but it not difficult.


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

I greatly enjoy shooting pinhole while traveling. The process of making a pinhole photograph on a valuable frame of film involves a significant investment in setup, composition, exposure, and timing. It dilates time and burns the moment into your memory. Even if you get a crap photo, you get an indelible recollection of an experience somewhere else.  So, trips, local and distant, become projects.  They invariably include a lot of landmarks and architecture, but I am trying to do more portraiture and “street pinhole”.  That’s a whole new challenge, when long exposures make moving people invisible.

I organize a regular pinhole photo meetup every month and we endeavor to visit interesting places in the greater Seattle area. It’s 50% social, with food and drink featuring prominently in the planning, but it’s a great environment for encouragement and cross-pollination from other pinhole people.  Watching how my friends find compelling subject matter in ordinary places, and how they use their skills and tools to make art never fails to impress me.

There are also themes that seem to be emerging as I shoot pinhole, notably giraffes, and reflection shots.  I am not a religious person, but I seem to be attracted to churches and cathedrals.  


Have you ever exhibited your work?

I have participated in the Seattle Maker Faires for the last few years. I share my pinhole cameras and some of the photographs I have made with them. I have had a tent outside, and there’s always a problem with wind. Last year I lost a couple framed prints in the gusts, so this year I want to be inside. It’s at the Experience Music Project, and it’s huge fun.

I had a show on display at a local business, last year.  It was in an art-walk neighborhood in Seattle, and they have one big night where everyone opens their shop and thousands of people see your work. I was hoarse after talking about pinhole and 3D printing for five hours.

I was recently invited to be in a show with some very talented Northwest pinhole photographers, called “Slowing the Selfie”. We all shot a number of self portraits and three each were chosen for display. Having a specific assignment inspired more creativity than I can remember in my photography. I am still trying to keep that inspiration going.


Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

Just one? I’m tempted to go back through the Pinholista archives so as not to duplicate any of the aforementioned brilliance. But I’m lazy, and I’m not going to do that.

Jeff McConnell (http://www.jeffmcconnell.net; twitter @howthingslook) has an amazing eye for composition and a superb talent for timing. I wish I could see like Jeff. He also makes cameras and experiments with them.  And the solargraphy!

Howard Arthur Moiser (Flickr: weehamx) is possibly the most prolific pinhole photographer in the world. He makes cameras and posts his pinhole photos EVERY DAY. I got to meet him in Barcelona and he is so congenial. He had this crazy green camera with a motorized shutter that used super fast film for hand-held pinhole. Admin’s note, this was a meeting of minds and no mistake. Two evil genii…it was a pleasure to see.

I could have mentioned a dozen other talented people that I know, and many I haven’t ever met, but I can honestly say that pinholistas are all wonderful people.


Do you shoot other styles of photography?

I love all kinds of photography and cameras.  I think 135 can be underwhelming for pinhole, but there are millions of excellent 35mm cameras and lens out there, and they cost vastly less than comparable state-of-the-art digital rigs. Film cameras, like the bicycle, were refined and optimized years ago, in a competitive consumer market that rewarded innovation and efficiency. The legacy of film photography isn’t going to be erased by the convenience of digital. So I have a few SLRs and, increasingly, various rangefinders.

I recently replaced a broken Russian Leica clone with a newer version (late 1950’s) by FED.  I have a bunch of Russian lenses, and the cameras are a lot of fun to shoot. I used to shoot an old Leica III, and the FED 2 is so much a better camera in many ways. The shutter makes a delicious clockwork “CLAAAK” sound.

I have TLRs too, and they’re nice machines. I think a camera shouldn’t be an obstacle to your photography, and I find reversed viewfinders a little confusing.  But shooting medium format film with vintage gear and getting huge juicy photos is satisfying.

I am not ashamed to admit that the camera on my phone factors prominently in my purchase decision. When I first heard of a “Camera Phone”, I thought, what a stupid idea. I can’t imagine not having one in my pocket now. I make and share photos with my phone (Droid Turbo) every day. My photos are somewhat meta, in that they are often pictures of my pinhole camera projects.

Two years ago, I wrote an article for MAKE: magazine on how to 3D print, assemble, and shoot the P6*6, one of my first 3D printed cameras. They paid me for the article, and, ironically, I used the money to buy a Fujifilm X-E2 mirrorless camera. It’s an amazing piece of gear, but it’s already considered obsolete. I recently bought an adapter to use my decades-old Russian lenses with the Fuji. That prospect makes me giddy.

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

Pinhole is, for me, by far, the most rewarding photography I’ve done.  Creating a camera and then making photographs on film with it is a tremendously rewarding experience. Someone at the art-walk called it Farm-To-Table photography. I haven’t yet run out of ideas to improve my cameras and the photos they produce.

Pinhole has also made my other photography better in every way. I was shooting the Russian rangefinder the other day in a dark interior. I used some pinhole-fu, stopped the camera down to f/22 and used bulb mode for a thirty-second shutter speed. I probably should have added some time for reciprocity failure. The picture might turn out to be shit, but pinhole has given me some skills. And I’ve met an amazing group of people from around the world through pinhole.  


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

I archive ALL my film photos, the good, the bad, and the ugly, on Flickr. For my pinhole, it’s a kind of full disclosure. I want people to use my cameras, and I want my results to accurately represent what the cameras can do.  As I approach 10K photographs, I might rethink the posting of crap shots. But I shoot for me, and I value the memory of every photo I make.


I share all of my camera designs on Thingiverse. They’re free to download, print, and modify, but licensed for non-commercial purposes. 3D printers may never become the ubiquitous household appliance that evangelists imagine, but more and more people (and institutions, like schools) have them, and you can probably find one in your community.  


MAKE: magazine put me on a list of 100 Makers to Follow on Twitter. This, more than anything, really catalyzed my early efforts to design a solid 3D printed pinhole camera. I use Twitter primarily to share things I am making and connect with the pinhole / photo / tech communities.


I have an Instagram feed, which is duplicated on Twitter, but you don’t have to click a link to see the photo. Anything is fair game, but pinhole and film predominate.


If you shoot pinhole (or would like to), and you live in the Seattle area, check out the Seattle Camera Obscura Photography Enthusiasts Society. Or just become an honorary member and keep tabs on the mayhem from afar:


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

Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you.

Admin’s note, huge thanks to the Schlem for sharing his work and his thoughts. I need to remind you, dear reader, that all images are the copyright of the Schlem and must not be used without prior permission. Remember Todd can 3D print anything, probably from a distance and could probably disassemble stuff too. 

Nigel Breadman

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

I’m Nigel Breadman and I live in Broadstairs on the East Kent coast. I work at the Canterbury Christ Church University campus as a photo technician and part time archivist for the South East Archive of Seaside Photography

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

My involvement with pinhole photography began when I started teaching photography at the local FE (Further Education) College. It had a large darkroom in which I found a stash of old 5×4 Kodak orthochromatic sheet film so I made a pinhole camera built around a dark slide. It was constructed out of old Ilford paper boxes with an ingenious spring back made out of washing up sponges which allowed the darkslide to be pulled in whilst remaining lightproof. It worked a treat and I still have it after 20 years. I have making my own pinhole cameras ever since.


I’m not a great fan of commercially manufactured pinhole cameras. I like the temporary nature of that making your own offers and I often make cameras then destroy them so that the images are unique one offs. Sometimes I combine bits of existing cameras to make Frankencamera such as a medium format back on an old converted Polaroid 104.

Nowadays I aim for simplicity wherever possible which led me to my favourite camera the Origami Pinhole which I have been experimenting with this year. The Origami Pinhole Camera is constructed from one square sheet of photographic paper origami folded to make a box with the emulsion on the inside. The box is then made lightproof with a covering of tin foil, much like an OXO cube, and the aperture made by piercing the foil when in position ready to take a shot. In the darkroom the camera is unwrapped and unfolded and tray developed, the camera becomes the image with a distinctive cross pattern.

This is as about as simple a photographic image can be constructed and the whole image can even be processed by maintaining the box in the darkroom and pouring the chemicals in and out then unfolding the paper at the end for a tantalising reveal. Admin’s note, I love this idea – it’s a great approach to making unique images that are unlike those you’ll see from other photographers. Just brilliant!


Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual?

I have shot solargraphs. Very long pinhole exposures that track the sun from solstice to solstice and equinox to equinox over a six month period.

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

Broadstairs Betty on the Jetty.

Taken with my hand made pinhole camera accommodating a 5×4 darkslide. Kodak Orthochromatic film. I’m sitting inches away from this lady’s husband and she is somewhat curious about the contraption I’m pointing towards her. Bleak House (residency of Charles Dickens) and the Old Lookout in the background


Same camera and film as 1. Double exposure of concrete beach chalets at Broadstairs.

Big Wheel at Margate.

Image taken on 120 Kodak Portra using medium format back fixed onto a pinhole converted Polaroid Land Camera 104. Taken in Dreamland amusement park with the big wheel and Arlington Flats in the background.


Origami Pinhole Camera image. Taken on Ilfospeed glossy paper 12×12 inch folded to make a three inch cube camera. Beach cleaning tractor on Viking Bay Broadstairs.


Origami Pinhole Camera image. Taken on Fuji Crystal Archive colour paper 12×12 inch image. RA4 processed and scanned. Dreamland cinema in Margate.

Steps up to the Old Lookout.

Origami Pinhole Image taken on Fomatone paper  20x20cm.


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

As I live by the seaside the coast does have a huge influence on my work, I like to look at the local architecture adjacent to the seafront the natural beauty of the coastline and my new work with the Origami Pinhole may be based around  the historic monuments  of East Kent.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

I have exhibited in my home town at a gallery the University used to have on the Jetty at Broadstairs called The Old Lookout; you will see it in many of my photos. I have also exhibited on Folkestone’s’ Harbour arm as part of the  2015 SALT festival and most recently was selected to exhibit at the London Alt Pinhole festival in April 2016.

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

I have produced Polaroid transfer and lifts and I do some large scale Cyanotype work from time to time and have recently started experimenting with Salt printing. Admin’s note, perhaps the next step is Origami Pinhole with cyanotypes…just a thought.

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

I have a digital camera and a Olympus trip 35mm which I use from time to time but I prefer pinhole, especially in the development of the style that the Origami camera has to offer and I am looking forward to see how much scope it has to offer both as an artistic medium and as a potential educational tool in promoting analogue photography. 

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


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

As usual, this work is the copyright of the photographer, in this case Nigel Breadman. Please don’t use or reproduce in any form without prior permission. Finally…if you’d like to be featured, please do get in touch here.

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