April is a special month for photographers. The flowers bloom, nature sings and the days become longer, marking the beginning of the busy season for many professional photographers. This could be why the third Sunday in April has been named National Pinhole Camera Day, for the humble pinhole camera to be celebrated nationwide.
“Whether you are hobbyist, amateur, professional or just a photography lover, Pinhole Day is fun and educational for the whole family,” says Bridget Conn, assistant professor of art — photography at GSU’s Armstrong Campus.
She will also host the second annual celebration of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day in Savannah on campus on April 29. Experience a basic and fun form of analog photography in this free workshop. Cameras and paper will be provided or you can bring your own. Light refreshments will also be available. Armstrong photography students' work will be on exhibit in an adjoining studio classroom.
“Last year my goal was to introduce myself to the local photography enthusiasts and to show off some of the work that the students have created,” Conn says. “We went from a three-hour event to five hours on this year’s event.
"We plan to show students’ work as we did during our first celebration, but we might try to create and turn one of the classrooms into a camera obscura. It is ambitious, and I am still working out the logistics, but I think it would be a great interactive experience. Being able to walk inside the camera allows a unique perspective.”
The birth of the iPhone and its accessibility created many photographers; anyone could document on demand and upload to all social media channels with the touch of a button. As technology continues to move faster than we can say iPhone X, there is a need to preserve the old techniques and ways of documenting. Just like the resurgence and demand for music on vinyl, photography is seeing a rebirth with photographers reclaiming not only the darkrooms, but also any photographic film they can get their hands on.
“Pinhole photography allows you to take a photograph that requires only a light-tight container with a tiny hole in one side [as a camera] and any photo-sensitive surface in it,” Conn says. “You can adapt an existing camera, or make the camera yourself.
"There seems to be a disconnect in the process of creation when we use technology. We think we understand how the camera works and its functions, but we really don’t. It is only when we use an item like a shoebox, for example, to create an image, that we begin to understand the beauty of simplicity while we are creating art. Truth is ... we can create a photo out of a tin can.”