Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pinhole Photographs at Jersey Shore

My husband and I took our children to Wildwood, New Jersey for a mini vacation early this spring. We had the whole beach to ourselves and spent the days flying a kite, searching for shells and riding our bikes along the boardwalk. I took plenty of candid snap shots of our family with my digital camera – but nothing could capture the vast open space and quiet solitude of the beach like my pinhole camera.

I shot my beach images with Polaroid 54 sheet film on an overcast day. I used my handmade camera (that I made with black mat board and duck tape) that’s fitted with a 4x5 Polaroid film holder. I sit this camera directly on the ground when I compose my shots. Exposure time was about one minute (during which time I was usually squatting to hold the camera steady in the gusting wind and counting the time quietly to myself.) I guess I looked a little suspicious squatting among the dunes because at one point someone called out “What are you doing?!” I don’t even want to contemplate what it looked like I was doing! I’m sure I looked like a crazy person bundled up in my rather worn LL Bean coat, lugging around a yellow shopping bag (of supplies) and squatting in various locations.

Fortunately, the remaining parts of my process occur in the privacy of my home studio. Here I scan the Polaroids and tone them digitally. If I look crazy when I’m doing this, only my dog knows.