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Pinhole photography to feature on the big screen

Pinhole photography mixes new technologies with a process that has existed for over 180 years and later this year it will feature in a Hollywood film. Justin Quinnell is a pinhole photographer who worked as a consultant on the film and here he tells ePHOTOzine why everyone should give pinhole photography a chance.

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 Rinko from Brothers Bloom
 Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi) and drink can pinhole camera.

"It's not reproduction it's storytelling." That's what a producer of a new Hollywood motion picture and photographer Justin Quinnell think about Pinhole photography.

Much of pinhole photography is about being creative with the light and playing with time.

"Pinhole photography combines the old with the new, its mixed new technologies with a process that has existed for over 180 years. It's about making the most of the last 200 years and beyond. It's about getting back to the science and becoming fascinated with light and time again." explained Justin Quinnell, pinhole photographer.

This love for Pinhole photography led Justin to be employed as a pinhole photography consultant for one of Hollywood's latest offerings to the world-Brothers Bloom.

"I had a text from my wife saying that a prop consultant would be ringing me. They didn't tell me what the film was about or who was in it they just asked me questions about pinhole photography. Eventually the producer of the film contacted me. He's interested in story telling and interested in pictures that can tell a story. He knew about my work and wanted to write pinhole photography into the film. At the time I didn't know what the film was for and it turned out to have huge stars in it. It's great publicity for pinhole photography."

Pinhole photography features as a hobby of the lead character in the film, Penelope played by Rachel Weisz.

 Rachel Weisz in Brothers Bloom
 Penelope (Rachel Weisz) and Water Melon Pinhole Camera.

"Rachel plays a millionaire who collects hobbies and one of them is pinhole photography. I was there to tell them how pinhole photography works, what props etc should be on the set, that sort of thing."

Justin's interest in pinhole photography emerged along time before Hollywood showed an interest in the subject and he's taken photographs with home-made pinhole cameras for 18 years now.

"Digital photography is conventional and to get away from that perfection can be tricky. Pinhole photography gives me the chance to do just that, it's a bit quirky."

The interest in pinhole photography is steadily growing with people all over the world celebrating world pinhole day and schools, colleges and Universities now teaching the technique.

"I was working as a head of photography in Bristol and the kids couldn't afford cameras but I noticed they could buy several cans of pop a day and I thought OK we can use them."

6 month exposure by Justin Quinnell
 6 month exposure of The Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Justin uses everything from old pop and beer cans to wheely bins to make his cameras something he says anyone can and should do:"It's a bit like Blue Peter, you make things out of bits of card and old beer cans. But it's the best way to start. Grab yourself some aluminium cans and make sure you have an open mind and if your first picture doesn't work out you can just open another can of beer and try again."

Pinhole photography is a hobby anyone can do. Its cheap, rewarding and can take up as much or as little of your time as you like.

"The time you can spend on one picture can be astounding. I spent three months in a grave yard and you have to spend time looking after the surroundings, I had to trim the grass to stop it growing over the lens, it's very satisfying and the six month stuff I am still coming to terms with, seeing six months of a life in one picture is amazing. Being able to capture a period of time far beyond our own vision is incredible."

 HongKong from Justin Quinnell's mouth
Hong Kong from Justin Quinnell's mouth.

How may other forms of photography could you take pictures from inside your mouth too? Well with pinhole photography you can just as Justin's website and book all about the subject show.

"I made a small camera that was indestructible and one day I popped it in my mouth and thought hang on this could work. It just goes to show when someone says you can't do it don't believe them, " explained Justin."Pinhole makes life interesting, what's the point in always knowing what will come next. It can put a little bit of wonder and discovery back into your life. There's no viewfinder, you can't preview your work. Every pinhole picture is like Christmas, you never know what you're going to get."

You can view more of Justin's work at his website Justin Quinnell.

Matt Grayson reviewed a Digital SLR pinhole adapter and you can read the review by going to: Digital SLR pinhole adapter.


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