Although the Greeks noted the effects of light traveling through naturally occurring pinholes over two thousand years ago, it has only been 161 years since Sir David Brewster of Scotland took the very first pinhole camera photograph. A pinhole camera is created by constructing a light-proof container (often a shoebox) with a tiny hole in one side. Much like the workings of the human eye, when light travels through the hole an inverted image is projected onto the back side of the box. When fitted with film or photographic paper the simple container can capture this image “negative” for development. There is a complex science behind the creation of a perfect pinhole photograph that takes into account the brightness of the environment, the size of the pinhole, and the distance between the hole and film or paper, but many pinhole enthusiasts prefer to master their craft through trial and error instead.
I have always been fascinated by photography and I’ve never forgotten how much I liked working in the darkroom during middle school photography class. In high school I pursued music to fulfill my arts requirements, but a part of me has always remained partial to photographic art. I was in my early twenties when digital cameras became the standard and I remember being thrilled with the ability to take as many pictures as I desired without having to worry about the cost of developing them later. Those early cameras were huge and heavy, and nothing like the sharp high megapixel devices of today — my cellphone takes pictures ten times better than the ones I captured with my first digital camera (which I believe put me out something close to $500!).
While I have enjoyed photography in a sort of passive way, Chris is an active aficionado. He has a wonderful Nikon camera that he totes around to all of our family events and on many of our daily celebrations. As a trained graphic designer he’s very much the artist of the family and is perfectly happy spending the morning taking pictures of his car or wandering through downtown Fredericksburg to capture some shots. Between my fondness and his passion for photography we have both been looking forward to celebrating World Pinhole Photography Day for quite some time.