Archive for the ‘Pinhole Photography.’ Category


At the beginning of the month I was fortunate to attend the Land/Water research conference in Plymouth. With Key notes speeches from Per Bak Jensen and Deborah Bright who were both enlightening and inspirational.

I very much enjoyed listening to Per Bak Jensen have nordic heritage myself, listening to a Danish artist speak of ‘Sense of Place’ was very emotionally stirring for me.


Per Bak Jensen ‘Vandresten’ / ‘Wandering Rock’, 2008

Talks I also enjoyed and took inspiration from where Liz Wells: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mqlFxzXOZ8
Who curates, writes and produces work involving notions of landscape and a sense of place.

  • The Derwent Project

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From the images I took from testing the Harman prototype lenses (see previous post) I have begun in the first trial of many testing Cyanotype printing methods. I used the negatives in a series of different ways on various papers.

All prints were made directly from the 5×4 negatives from both Ilford and Adox films.

The Cyanotype process involves:

Mixing 10g ferric ammonia citrate (green) in 50ml tap water.

Pour in brown stopped bottle and label.

Mixing 4g potassium ferric cyanide in 50 ml tap water.

Pour in brown stopped bottle and label.

Choose and coat paper with a wide brush, note here brush strokes will show on paper.

Dry paper, with a heater I have found is a preferred method.

Expose the coated paper to negative, paper face down on top of negative. Best results using small print down frame at around 650 light units.

Another tip is to put the UV light closer than you normally would to expose a screen.

Watch for yellow green highlights and deep grey shadows.

Wash exposed print in water for 5 to 10 minutes, here I found that over washing can cause to much of the print to wash off. And even though you are using running water do not have image directly under tap.

Dry print.

Images of workshop:

Expose negatives to UV light.

Dry coated paper in heater.

Images hanging to dry.



Conceptually for me the aesthetic of this process works well with the types of images I create and wish to create in the future. The grainy blue hue adds to the sense of melancholia I wish to portray in the imagery. This will be one of many hand crafted printing processes I intend to using in conduction with my collodion work when I explore negative wet plate work but also with my pinhole imagery.

My main overall judgement on the process is that it works best with film negatives at 700 light units on Somerset papers with torn edges. I also this that the water ‘pooling’ effects add to the underwater, under the surface aesthetic quality I want to obtain, although others may not. It is also very important to get two layers of the fluid on the paper as evenly as possible, as one thick layer as the paste is more of a fluid you will get a wavy image (see 3 below).

650 Light Units (approx. 11 minutes.) No cover on negative.

Visible and uneven brush strokes, this is a clear negative but it was very washed out in the rinse at the end.

The aesthetic of the process is very grainy and if the negative or the exposure is not correct you risk ruining the image.


650 Light Units (approx. 11 minutes.) No cover on negative.

I then tried using a more exposed negative, but the effect of the process makes the over exposure nature of the image even more unclear almost murky.

I think aesthetically the torn edge of the paper once coated with the cyanotype fluid gives a pleasing effect.


650 Light Units (approx. 11 minutes.) No cover on negative.

One very thick layer of the solution which obviously dryer in the formation. The effect is interesting but actually takes away from the image. I think on the outer blue area outside of the image the ‘pooling’ effects you see above are actually beneficial to my work, but when they are on the image itself as much as they are on the image above it detracts.

700 Light Units (approx. 15 minutes.) No cover on negative.

The use of card is demonstrated here unfortunately I don’t think the chemical solution ‘took’ as well to the card and when it was rinsed at the end stage of the process it became faint.

700 Light Units (approx. 15 minutes.) Covers on negative. To test is there is much of a difference, unfortunately the writing on the sleeves is undesirable.

Above demonstrates two different focal lengths of the same location in Epping forest, demonstrating that unpredictable abnormalities do occur in the process as the top image is faded on one half possibly from being too near the tap when washed.

800 Light Units (approx. 20 minutes.) No cover on negative.

Longer exposure, leads to darker blues?

Large background demonstrated here.

Several layers of the solution applied and dried in oven

Not applying the solution right to edge of paper works well, interesting effect gain in surrounding deep blue area from several layers drying quickly in oven. The paper bends and twists as it dries causing these effects.

800 Light Units (approx. 15 minutes.) No cover on negative.

This negative works well as it demonstrates brilliant white highlights and deep shadows causing a contrast that works well in the process.

This is Somerset paper and I think this is the paper that reflects the grainy quality of the process probably the best, the other images appear slightly flat in my opinion.

Again I think I prefer the fluid to either be right towards the edge of the paper I don’t think I like the uneven brush strokes it makes the application elements  of the process appear very obvious.




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I was given a 150mm lens by Mike Walker, creator of the newly developed in 2011 Harman Titan Pinhole Camera. This prototype lens which is one of the three tested in this blog has a long focal length which is almost standard at 5×4 the results are displayed below. I think this lens would be good instrument to trial some portraiture in a follow up to this set of three blogs linking the three prototype lenses.

All photographs have been take in 5×4 black and white Delta 100 professional film, courtesy of Ilford.

I found this lens acted effectively when seeking a direct route to the object desired, I have experimented with a series of outdoor images using horizontal landscapes and portraits of what I have come to call my ‘tattooed circus freaks’ of Epping forest which highlight the parallels of our effect on the landscape over time. This was part of an investigation into the existence of wilderness around the outskirts of London, if it exists and where.

The use of the negative as with all my imagery is important to my own appropriation of materials, the photographic process as a concept in itself that creates the image seen. Furthermore the artefact that comes out of the camera being the image displayed or in this case shown, this being the way in which I wish the viewer to see the landscape/ backwards/ inverted otherworld captured.

I plan to further test this particular lens, as it holds the largest contrast to the original wide angle lens, with a variety of direct self portraits varying exposure and consciousness, further to my exploration of existence and non existence.

In my personal opinion my  favourite lenses is still the wide angle lens being most true to the pinhole aesthetic.


The ballooned tattooed circus freaks of Epping forest:

‘Complete Control’

This image (above) has a direct link in positioning of camera to an image taken with the medium focal length lens.

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The images displayed below are images taken with the prototype lens I received from Mike Walker at Focus on Imaging earlier this year. I have taken images in similar locations and in some instances in the same position to provide a comparison of focal lengths.

All taken on Delta 100 professional film (5×4).

‘Complete Control’

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Here are some of my initial images taken with the recently developed Harman Titan pinhole camera, all taken of 5×4 Delta 100 Professional film.

Taken from the outskirts of Essex exploring an otherworld of the possible existence of wilderness.


To end things on a positive note:

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On March 7th 2010, I visited the NEC in Birmingham to attend this years Focus on Imaging.

I was lucky enough to be the 1000th person to buy the recently released Harman Titan Pinhole Camera, there is a link to the press release below:


I received various films and papers from Ilford, (Thank you very much to the team at Ilford.) I was also lucky enough to receive two prototype lenses for the Harman Pinhole  camera from Mike Walker whom I also had the pleasure of meeting at Focus.

With these lenses I now intend to test within my practise to broaden my research into pinhole photography, I believe the Harman Titan Camera is an essential link between conceptual and process driven elements of my work.

Here is an image of the prototype lenses, which I am extremely excited to test:

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Often within my work I engage with landscapes that are unexpected locations to take photographs, some photographers take photographs to remember a particular moment in a particular location. What interests me is the overlooked, the mistaken and the forgotten, echoed by my use of unconventional /alternative  or forgotten processes.

I experimented with ultra long pinhole photography at night in Sainsbury’s Superstore. Throughout the night with only the ‘graveyard shift’ workers singly occupying the isles the store becomes a desolate place, a non existent place where all purpose and meaning surrounding the consumer driven building has been lost.

It literally becomes a ghost town.

The Exposures I made with these camera’s were over two hours in length, so far, I have only tested Ilford Multigrade paper that has an Iso of 3. Later I wish to test film and perhaps the new Harman Ilford 5×4 Titan Pinhole Camera.

Here are the types of camera’s I used:

Here are some images of where I hid my camera’s (for as long as four hours), as I was working within the store, this is how the ghostly traces appear on the long exposure images.

Although the store looks adequately lit in this images during the night only minimal lighting is left on leading to the need to such exposures.

Here are some small documentation’s of my findings:

I also tried double exposures as way of working, as subtle movement was a key element to these works.

The results are below, I think they work conceptually to create to other world I have been looking to rediscover within a place its fleeting mystery.

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