What is Pinhole Photography?

A pinhole camera is a type of camera obscura, the first camera invented in the 1850’s. Before it was used as a camera with film, it was a tool to help artists learn to paint and draw with more detail, a tool devised to help tell time, and a tool used by scientists for observing a solar eclipse. The first recorded mention of pinhole dates back to China in the 5th century BC.

This is my camera, just a simple box made from teak wood. It’s lensless – which means that it doesn’t have a lens like the cameras you’re used to. It has infinite depth of field – which means whatever is in the frame will be in focus, unless of course it’s moving. It uses medium format, 120 film, so the photographs are square. The exposure times are longer to compensate for the pinhole, which is why you often see subtle blur and motion in pinhole photographs.

I use a Zero Image pinhole camera, handmade in Hong Kong by Zernike Au. Lucky for me I got to meet him when I lived near Hong Kong (right), as well as Martin Cheung (middle), another great pinhole photographer.

In depth history of pinhole photography

Good description of how pinhole camera works

Wonderful light meter app for pinhole cameras