Csaba Kovacs

After a long period without, a drought you might say, I’m delighted to introduce the latest Pinholista to be featured on this little site. Please welcome Csaba Kovacs, from Hungary. There is one particular image of Csaba’s that I have been in love with for sometime, read on and all will be revealed.

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Csaba Kovacs. I am a Hungarian pinhole photographer and solargrapher, I live in Budapest.

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

I love analogue pinhole photography; this is a magical world.

In my opinion these devices are the world’s easiest photography methods as they give me a lot of freedom to take my photos (e.g. energy drink can, anamorphic camera). I think I should use the opportunities that a traditional device (digital or analogue) cannot attain, so I can make the photo that I want or imagine.

Pinhole photography is an easy method but it requires planning, a lot of work and lots and lots of practice. For example I have no finder therefore composing is a little bit difficult. I cannot make a lot of shots at a time and then choose the best. That means I must make one good picture (from light metering to developing).

Usually I use my Zero 2000 camera, I prefer square format 120 b & w film.

I make solargraphy, too. I like to show through my solargraphs how a lot of things happen within half a year in our busy world. Maybe people would say ‘stop for a moment and look back at the time when the photo was made’.

I enjoy to make pinhole pictures and to see other pinhole photographers’ works.


Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual? 

I don’t think so. Admin’s note, apart from the solargraphs and anamorphs that is!

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

I have many pinhole cameras.

Some of them are home-made, for example, plastic film containers (leica size) and drink cans. I made matchbox and other paper cameras as well.

I have three bought cameras Zero 2000, Delamont 4×5 and Holga WPC.

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

Good question. I think my favourite film camera is my Zero 2000. It is nice, simple, compact and square format.

I have another favourite device for solargraphy. This is an aluminium drink can with photographic paper. These cameras are single use devices therefore their photo production „value” is much higher than that of the others. However, they are extremely water-resistant there are several ones which have captured the images on photo paper for half a year.


How long have you shot pinhole?

Not, for too long a time. I built my first pinhole camera in 2011, it was a solargraph. Admin’s note, I’m not sure I know many pinhole photographers who have started with solargraphy. Definitely a very interesting route into pinhole, one that needs a lot of patience (and very underestimated skill).

I have consciously made pinhole photos since 2013. From the last year on I have developed my film and paper in my home. The next step for me will be enlargement work.

Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

When I saw many good pictures on Flickr I immediately knew this would be my style! I got to know a lot of interesting people around the world and in my own country who inspired and helped me.


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

Yes. The first photo is a solargraph, made in 2013. It was made during 45 days, the airplane did not move at all. You can see the trails of Sun above the plane. It is interesting, that basically the paper is black and white but after the digital developing it will become coloured. Admin’s note, this is possibly my favourite solar graph of all time, I really, really love this image.

The second is a solargraph, too. It was made for 64 days in 2012. I like its colours and the lines of the trunk of the trees. I fixed the tin in an oblique way, therefore the theme and the Sun’s trails are in an anamorph form.

The title of the third photo is Sunrise. It was made during 8 minutes, the camera was an energy drink can. The picture is on positive paper. I like positive paper but buying it is more difficult because this product is not always available.

The fourth is the anamorph line. This is a paper negative photo by plastic leica format film container camera. I collect lot of expired photo paper (Foma, Forte, Ilford etc). I like the low ISO and the fantastic mood on the papers.

The fifth picture I was planning for a long time. The title is a quote from Nimród Antal’s movie (Hungary) called ‘Kontroll’.

’Your project, your work. Why didn’t you finish it?’

’When for years you wake up that, you have to win every battle every day, to prove that you are the best at everything, I started to worry what would happen if it turned out I wasn’t the best.

I didn’t want to be worry…’

The sixth picture is the Foggy Liberty (2). One of my favourite themes are bridges in fog. I like to wake up early in the morning and going to the city when it is foggy.

That morning was very cold and the fog was swirling under the Danube. I went to the most photogenic theme in Budapest, to Liberty Bridge. I was cold but it was worth going because I could make what I had wanted with my Zero 2000. Admin’s note, another incredible image in my opinion, this just oozes atmosphere. I did put this one out of order in the post, sorry if that confuses you!


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

The solargraphy is a project. I am continuously looking for the themes and trying out a lot of possibilities. I put out the tin can vertically, horizontally and in oblique position. The photos become interesting with the Sun’s trails.

I think I am progressing. I have already made a lot of individual film photos I have tried a lot of methods and I will work on lot of projects in the future. I have numerous  ideas…

A photograph is not an accident – it is a concept.” (Ansel Adams)

I believe it is absolutely true for the pinhole photography.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

Yes, I have exhibited my work in past years at different places in Hungary.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

I am impressed by many great photographers around the world. For example Diego, Vince, in solargraphy. Scott and Ross works inspire me in many different themes.

I think Howard is one of the best DIY pinhole camera builders. He has a lot of cameras and many special good photos. Admin’s note, Howard is a genius and makes incredible cameras (I have one…it’s amazing).

I have Hungarian pinhole photographer friends, Attila and Imre.

I could write more photographers but think it would be a long list.


Do you shoot other styles of photography?

Nowadays I make only pinhole photos. I focus on this technique because it gives me many possibilities.

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

I shot digitally a couple years ago. Since I have found the pinhole photography style I gradually gave up the “normal” photography. I know that I cannot capture everything by pinhole technique but it is not a problem, I don’t want to shoot everything… Admin’s note, if only I said the same discipline.

If I want to document something I use my superb phone camera.

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

Yes, I have. http://csaba-kovacs.com/en/

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

I am glad I could introduce myself on your site. Many thanks!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed Csaba’s work as much as I have. All images are, of course, his copyright and should not be used without Csaba’s permission…please respect that. Of course, you might be thinking “How do I get featured on Pinholista?” It’s simple, just contact me here.

7 replies
  1. Csaba Kovacs says:

    Thank you everybody of your kind comments! CB: The Delamont 4×5 not famous camera. This is an Italian handmade product. It is interesting that in the box you can use filter(s) so facilitating the creative freedom even more.

  2. Diego says:

    Great interview! Congrats Csaba for the fine work, your 45 days airplane solargraph is also one my favourites in fifteen years Solargraphy history . I am very happy to see so many old Flickr friends mentioned here.


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