Herschel Pollard has two great passions in life, Nashville and Pinhole photography. In spare moments he writes about these over at the Square Peg Pinhole blog. As a learning tool, Herschel began capturing his subjects with a digital camera as well as his trusty pinhole. The resulting comparisons show that it only takes a box with a hole (and a little patience) to create beautiful, dream-like images. We asked Herschel what first drew him to the charms of pinhole photography:
HP: My daily work life is filled with technology. I began creating websites when AOL was still the primary internet service provider, Yahoo! was the only search engine and getting directions from point A to point B required paper maps. I adopted pinhole because it strips technology from the photographic process. There is no lens, there is no viewfinder, there is no certainty of capturing the intended image.
Since pinhole photos usually take several seconds and sometimes minutes or hours to shoot, capturing a moment is next to impossible. Instead, I capture different perspectives of common scenes and objects, views observable to anyone willing to take a moment to stop and look. Most people don’t, though.
I shoot from the ground, or millimeters from the subject, or with the camera nestled in a tight spot. I try to shoot full frame to minimize cropping. I limit post production to simple techniques easily used in traditional darkrooms (although I work mainly in Photoshop). I like the uncertainty, the acceptance that every shot may be a failure. It’s an iterative process of try, fail, try, fail, try… until, hopefully, I succeed.
I used the pinhole/digital comparisons when I first started shooting pinholes as a learning tool. My photographic eye observed specifically for lens-based cameras so I needed to train myself to see a much wider image with an infinite depth of field. Now I put them together sometimes to show others the differences. I’m not certain whether that’s a good or bad idea. It’s obvious that lens-based cameras create sharper images, which most people prefer, but it’s still damn cool that beautiful images can be made with nothing more than a holey box.
We’d like to thank Herschel for sharing his pinhole vs digital comparisons with us. Have you dabbled with pinhole photography? We’d love to hear about your experiences. And if there are any pinhole images in your favourites, please feel free to share these in the comments below.