Pinhole Cameras: A Do-It-Yourself Guide

So, I’ve mentioned Chris Keeney, aka ck3, loads of times on Ektopia. He’s always been a favourite photographer of mine. My interest in his work began with a love for the inspiring way he photographed his kids (it must have been around the time that my wife got pregnant I guess – five of six years ago – and I already envied the quality of his family album!). These photos were truly unique and he took this unique view of the world as his experiments moved from film camera tinkering to pinhole photography. It was clear from early on that he wasn’t only interested in taking photos from off-the-shelf pinhole cameras but wanted to investigate the possibilities of the basic structure of the actual camera.

Pinhole Cameras is a document of this work, which was recently published by Princeton Architectural Press and inside are nearly 200 pages of DIY camera goodness. It all starts, after the introductions and some photographic history, with a look into a pinhole camera’s basic structure – primarily a box (and and how to choose one according to your needs and intended use) and secondly, and arguably the more important factor, is how to make an actual pinhole. (The latter can actually be purchase online but you’re going to may one and not buy one, right?!) Everything you need to know is included too in a dedicated chapter. The rest of the book are full instructions for making seven pinhole cameras (nine if you count the DSLR body cap and the Holga conversion) from different objects that you may already have around the house; an oatmeal can, shoe box, coffee can, cigar box, mint tin and, my favourite, CK’s version of the mighty Matchbox Pinhole. The instructions are clear and concise and include all the information that you’ll need to create your own. Creating the cameras are only one part of the process though and there are some practical advice photography in general as well as setting up a darkroom, processing film and developing photographic paper.

Now I have to admit that, although I’ve experimented with the medium before when I created the Coronet Pinhole Rapide, I’ve not actually created anything from in this book. My interest is in the medium, the possibilities ad the examples of the photos that he’s created within. It may be that I’ll never use this book as it’s intended to be used but hey, it’s an excellent and engaging book in its own right, even if you just want to learn more about the medium. Pinhole Cameras: A DIY Guide weighs in at 192 pages and comes in a ring-bound hard-cover edition that’s available from Princeton Architectural Press and all the usual places including Amazon UK. As a footnote, CK is also a conventional photographer that you should check out.