Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy World Pinhole Day

In case you didn’t know (and to be honest I didn’t until reading about it in the BBC’s “Viewfinder”, their wonderful blog about photography), today is World Pinhole Photography Day. What is pinhole photography? Like the name implies, it is the art of making a photograph using tiny pinhole in place of a camera lens. As far back as the Middle Ages, people realized that, under the right circumstances, a tiny hole poked in the wall of an otherwise darkened room would project an image of a brightly-lit external scene onto the wall of the dark room (called a camera obscura). The modern art of photography began as the quest to find a way to permanently record the image of the camera obscura; all of the earliest cameras were in fact pinhole cameras.

Today, pinhole photography remains an active niche in the photographic world. Since pinhole cameras don’t use glass lenses for focusing, pinhole photographs often have a soft, even ethereal quality to them. And because the pinhole lets so little light into the camera, exposure times for pinhole photographs are long – usually from several seconds up to several minutes, so motion tends to become blurred during pinhole exposures adding to their otherworldly quality.

For a gallery of pinhole photographs, check out the official World Pinhole Photography day website.
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