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Back to the Future with Pinhole Cameras and Paper Negatives

Pinhole Cameras and Paper Negatives

Adam Craven

on 20 May 2011

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Transcript of Back to the Future with Pinhole Cameras and Paper Negatives

Welcome to my class
'Back to the Future'
with Pinhole Cameras So what is a Pinhole Camera? - A pinhole camera consists of a box with a tiny hole through which light enters.
- Light from an external scene passes through this hole, it then strikes the surface opposite, where it is reproduced as an image, upside-down, but with color and perspective preserved.
- The image is captured on a recording medium at the back of the box, in our case, a paper negative or B&W photo paper.
- The general principle is exactly the same as any other type of camera except there is no lens, just a hole. The container must be completely light-tight, i.e. absolutely no light can get in anywhere except the pinhole.
- Over the next two weeks we'll be learning to build and use a pinhole camera. We'll be making paper negatives that we'll then scan and make positive images from these negatives. The 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer made use of what's know as, a camera obscura. The camera obscura was the predecessor of the photographic camera, but without the light-sensitive film or plate glass negative. It was used as an aid to drawing and painting. The Great Masters, as they are often referred to, used devices like the camera obscura, before the invention of chemical photography in the 1830s. In Vermeer's case and as with many other artists of this time, the question of whether he used these optical method to aid in drawing and painting is seen by some commentators as controversial.
Have a look at this next video and let me know your thoughts on why the use of the camera obscura as an aid to painting, might be seen as controversial? What is Pinhole Photography? Over the next couple of weeks we'll be exploring the possibilities of pinhole photography ourselves. We'll be Heading Back to the Future and using one of these....... How light passing through a small hole, changed everything - a brief history.................. Looking at the world with fresh eyes Before the camera - How the pin hole camera came into being....... However, instead of using one of these... References

Miller, P. 1999. Photogravure Etchings by Peter Miller. Retrieved from

Grepstad, J. 2010. Pinhole Photography – History, Images, Cameras, Formulas. Retrieved from http://home.online.no/~gjon/pinhole.html

Leggat, R. 2001 CAMERA OBSCURA Retrieved from www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/cameraob.htm The following photographs are by Sydney based photographer Tim Hixon In the mid sixteenth century Giovanni Battista della Porta (1538-1615) published what is believed to be the first account of the possibilities as an aid to drawing. It is said that he made a huge "camera" in which he seated his guests, having arranged for a group of actors to perform outside so that the visitors could observe the images on the wall. The story goes, however, that the sight of up-side down performing images was too much for the visitors; they panicked and fled, and Battista was later brought to court on a charge of sorcery!

Touching on our conversation again about the controversial use of the camera as a drawing aid, we know that from around this time and into the Renaissance, many artists would have used a camera obscura to aid them in drawing, however perhaps because of the association with the occult at this time, and also, because they felt that their artistry was lessened with the use of these devices, few would admit to using one. And these are some images by other
photography students using pinehole cameras. - As we've just seen, the Old Masters took advantage of these new optical devices to create more realism in their work.

- They used a variety of optical devices -- lenses, mirrors, pinhole-lit dark rooms and later, portable image focusers, called the camera lucida.
In the 1600s, portraits, interiors, and landscapes took on new type of realism, called perspective.

- Paintings during the Renaissance, became strikingly different from the stiff and posed look of art before this time.

- This was a time in which the development of artistic realism become the common valued mode of European painting.

- As we saw in our short film clip there, Vermeer's paintings used lighting effects that came from looking through a lens. Look carefully at the way the 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' stares at you?......The glance, that spontaneous moment,....it perhaps could be said that the painting actually looks photographic? Follow this presentation and at the end I'll give you time to discuss and fill these in.
You can complete the work sheets in pairs or in your group and you're welcome to take them home. I'll collect them from you at the beginning of our next class. The Worksheets and presentation to follow? Questions........?
So what might the controversy be all about?
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