Pinhole Photography

posted by Ian Lewis in Club Meetings

Derek Reay ARPS treated us to an evening of unique and fascinating photography.

After an introduction to the pinhole camera, which most of us probably tried out in our young days, he moved on to the camera obscura, the Victorian invention which uses a whole room as a camera, with the outside scenery projected upside down onto the whole wall of the room via a pinhole in the blackout material.

Derek’s passion is to create a set inside the room and photograph the whole room, set and projected outside image, using a 5 x 4 film camera in the corner of the blacked-out room, with an exposure time measured in hours or even days.

We were shown a negative which it took 2 people to hold up – I doubt anyone in the club had seen a 42" wide negative before. Nor had many of us imagined an f-stop of over 1000!

Derek amused us with tales such as how he found a hotel room in Windsor with a view of the castle and hired it for 2 days. On the first day he designed and build the set in the room and put up all the blackout material. On the second day he set up the 5 x 4 camera to make the actual exposure, whilst he went off and did normal things during the day.

When asked how long he took to explain to hotel managers and letting agents what he wanted to do with their rooms, he did say he usually received a bemused reaction, but the end result was that, provided he left the room as found, there was no problem.

He readily admits his kind of photography is weird and not many people in the world do it, but his passion for it shone through and gave us all a very entertaining evening.


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