All images by Matthew Pringle. Used with permission.
Matthew Pringle is a photographer that is bound to reassure you that taking good pictures isn’t about the gear. Matt uses a variety of cameras that include toy cameras, pinhole cameras, medium format film cameras, 35mm film cameras and digital cameras. But when we viewed his portfolio, what we were incredibly taken aback by is his pinhole work of the sea. Many pinhole photographers often capture scenes at the sea, but after a while they all tend to look the same.
That isn’t the case with Pringle. We talked to Matt a bit about his process and his vision.
Phoblographer: Do you feel that pinhole photography is a lot of guess-work combined with excellent knowledge of metering? Why or why not?
Matt: There is certainly a degree of guess work and unpredictability with regards to pinhole photography and that is part of its charm for me. You’re never entirely sure how things will turn out and that can sometimes work in your favour. Understanding exposure times and metering is vital if you want to obtain an image with a good balanced exposure. However, there have been times when I’ve horribly under-exposed a pinhole shot and the resulting darkness of the image has added greatly to its atmosphere and feeling.
Phoblographer: Tell us about some of your favorite gear that you use for this type of photography
Matt: I’m relatively new to pinhole photography so the equipment I use is pretty bare bones. I shoot on a Holga pinhole camera (with a hot shoe spirit level) and almost exclusively on Ilford HP5 Plus medium format film (I also shoot on HP5 for the vast majority of my other medium format work too). I have a Manfrotto tripod to stablise the camera during the long exposure times. I have experimented with Intentional Camera Movement when shooting pinhole seascapes and I’ve been quite happy with the added abstraction and feeling this has given to some of my images. The light metering is done on a very old Sekonic light meter I bought off ebay on the cheap.
Phoblographer: Where do you get your inspiration? Your images seem almost ghost-like.
Matt: For me, photography is an escape, a way of creating scenes that I find both visually appealing and that are almost dreamlike in their atmosphere and feel. Atmosphere and feeling are of fundamental importance to me and I hope to convey this though my photography. I believe pinhole photography compliments this style of photography well, the softness adding an almost otherworldly feel to the overall scene. The vast majority of my photographic works contain very few people, if any. I think this is because I find modern life to be quite hectic and stressful and I aim to capture scenes of solitude and peacefulness. My images feel far removed from the fast pace of modern day life and I guess, that is why I make them the way I do.