Making A Pinhole Camera

Pinhole cameras involve the creation of your own camera. You can use many different boxes or tins to create a camera. The process that I completed includes;

  • Find an almost light-tight cardboard box and cut a hole to fit a side of a tin can. Tape up any light cracks inside the box, including corners and joints
  • Cut a square out of a tin can big enough to cover the hole you have just made in the cardboard box
  • On this square of can, use a pin head to hammer in a hole – the smaller the hole, the longer the exposure time BUT do not make a very large hole as this will be more difficult to work with. Sand down the hole so there is no lip that the light can ‘catch’ on
  • Stick the can to the inside of the cardboard box using electrical tape. Make sure not to cover up the hole
  • Make a shutter/a flap for the outside of the box, so that you can control the light into the box. Test this so you know you can remove it and put it back on safely
  • When in the dark room, place your photographic paper, which is sensitive to light, at the back of the box making sure that the emulsion side is facing the hole. Seal the box using electrical tape. If you are unsure if your box is completely light tight, add an aluminium foil lid which will keep it light tight
  • Put into position outside, facing something that has sunlight hitting it, or in a desired position if cloudy. You will have to do several tests to determine your exposure time. For my box, it was 5 minutes. The faster the exposure time, the more likely you are to get camera blur from people, items or the camera moving. There is a high level of maths that can get involved however, most of the time it is trial and error
  • Once you have captured your image, go back to the darkroom and develop the image in the appropriate chemical baths. As your negative image comes out, you can determine whether you need a longer or shorter exposure time

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