Pinhole photography has to be one of the most beautiful forms of the art. It forces a photographer to rely on great composition, exposure timing, and creative ideas to yield a beautiful image. But fair warning: you won’t be doing any pixel peeping or anything else technical aside from figuring out your exposure in the first place.
When it comes to capturing fireworks, you’ll want to do a couple of things first. If you’re looking to do that this 4th of July consider some very basics. First off, you’ll want to get to and claim a good spot for you to see them. Some of the best are along a waterfront or on someone’s rooftop. When you claim your spot, you’ll want to settle in and not move until after the fire show is done.
When that’s been conquered, you’ll want to follow these short tips.
All photographs shot by and used with permission from Barry Underwood.
Cleveland-based photographer and light installation artist Barry Underwood, whose work takes focus on the examination of the use of land in both rural and urban areas, is well-versed in the power of film; and he’s using that power to his advantage to document his amazing art installations.
These long-exposure photographs (or visual representations of his “dialogues”, as he calls them, between him and nature and history), of course, are products of much bigger projects that not only take time to plan and execute, but also last several hours after their images are painted on film. As Barry himself explains,
“The photographic images are long exposure documentations of full-scale installations built on-site in specific landscapes. With my work, I actually do build a structure, or object, or an installation. My process begins with drawing. Most of the installations only exist from a few hours to one night. I have been working on projects where the installation is up for several weeks. Most projects are installed in one day, though some can take several days. Again, most of the installations are actual structures, not moving lights, or light trails. Though they do at times mimic light trails. Almost every installation or sculpture has a support structure just off frame. Rope in the trees, an armature, and such.
The photographic images are made using long exposures; one or more hours. Because they are long exposures, I use film for photographing. I then have the film scanned. I try to treat the image in Photoshop similar to how I would print in the darkroom process: adjusting color balance, dodge/burn, crop…In fact the early work in the series was first printed in the darkroom with no digital process.”
These long exposures may only be fractions of his undoubtedly beautiful full-scale light installations, but they are themselves artworks in their own right. Stunning, surreal, and radiant, they are true examples of long exposures AND film photography done right.
A hundred years from now in May 2114, a hundred or so Berliners will retrieve 100 pinhole cameras from their original hiding places to unearth photographs shot for an entire century.
At least, that’s what Jonathon Keats is hoping for. He’s the San Francisco-based conceptual artist behind this ambitious and never-been-done-before project, aptly called the Century Camera Project. On May 16, Keats and Berlin art gallery Team Titanic distributed 100 pinhole cameras to anyone who was interested to get involved for a €10 deposit each. Those people were supposed to hide their cameras anywhere and pointing at anything in Berlin, acting like the “world’s slowest surveillance cameras”, and leave instructions for their descendants. A hundred years later, their descendants will recover those cameras and return them to the gallery in exchange for the €10 original deposits. The 100-year-old long exposures will then be extracted from the cameras and included in a special exhibition.
Keats says of the project, “The photograph not only shows a location, but also shows how the place changes over time. For instance an old apartment building torn down after a quarter century will show up only faintly, as if it were a ghost haunting the skyscraper that replaces it.”
The idea behind the project was to initiate monitoring of urban development and/or decay spanning a century in the streets of the German capital. Keats chose the pinhole camera and black card stock for it, specifically because they are less likely to break down and are also easier to figure out a hundred years from now when our latest tech today has become very obsolete.
There is, of course, zero guarantee that this project will even prove to be a success. Not only will these cameras be exposed to the elements and human activities that would render the photographs useless, we don’t even know if the city will still be around then. The entire world could cease to exist before the century is up. Still, Keats and Team Titanic are optimistic. In fact, they’ve already scheduled their Century Camera Project exhibition on May 16, 2114 for the future generations to behold.
“The first people to see these photos will be children who haven’t yet been conceived. They’re impacted by every decision we make, but they’re powerless. If anyone has the right to spy on us, it’s our descendants.”
All photos taken by and used with permission from Darren Moore.
The beauty of Darren Moore‘s photographs is not in the capturing of fleeting moments, like with many others. It’s in the slow churning, the deliberate painting of light, in the patient waiting until the scenery is completely drawn and mirrored, with even the slightest of movements captured like ghosts floating across land or water.
This Surrey photographer’s haunting and transcending long exposures, as staggering as they are, only hint at the meticulous process behind their creation however. Aside from finding the perfect location and subject (which could be anything from old rotting wooden columns to castles to shipwrecks), getting the framing right, and determining the right exposure, according to Moore, who is as much a painter as he is a photographer, he also needs to set up his camera to take in less light since he mostly shoots in the daytime.
“Primarily working in Black & White, I specialise in a technique called ‘Daytime Long Exposure’ using Neutral Density (ND) filters attached to the lens. ND filters cut out the amount of light coming into the lens allowing the shutter to be left open for much longer than normal, capturing movement with an ethereal aesthetic.”
To top it off, he spends anywhere from 30 seconds to more than 15 minutes to shoot just a single image.
It’s these slow exposures that lend the unearthly quality to his photographs, such that when you look at them, it’s almost as if you’re walking into a parallel world, a mirror dimension where everything moves at the slowest pace imaginable and it’s just a little quieter and lonelier.
Writing with light is the literal definition of photography. It’s also something you can do with a small light, a long exposure and a fairly steady hand. I’ve been experimenting with long exposure recently, and most of initial efforts dealt with moving strands of Christmas lights in myriad directions to somewhat hypnotic ends. Then the idea of writing messages came along.