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Take 5 Interview
The Take 5 Interview series is a continuation of featuring selected pinhole artists from around the planet. Each artist is asked a set of five questions that will shed light on their persona, their portfolio, and their creative take on this intriguing art form called pinhole photography. All questions are derived by Brian J. Krummel and answered by the respective artist in their own words.

March 19th, 2010 : Laura Campbell
Laura Campbell is a fine art photographer residing in Ranchos de Taos, NM. She is relocating to Shoshone, CA, in March 2010, to work on a new series in Death Valley National Park.

When did you first get interested in pinhole photography and how long have you been practicing this art form? List any creative influences that have shaped your own personal style.
I made my first pinhole photographs of a pair of shoes in 1997. Ten years later, I began to explore the pinhole process in-depth as a therapeutic outlet following a year-long illness.

Laura Campbell
Email me  Follow me on Facebook Check my website
The illness physically weakened me, and when I was able, I embarked on a three month camping trip in the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley National Park to get my strength back. I set up a base camp which consisted of a sleeping tent and a kitchen tent, in the Alabama Hills at the base of Mt. Whitney, in Lone Pine, California. From there I traveled to places like Owens (Dry) Lake, Darwin ghost town, Manzanar, and Death Valley, recording the beauty of the area with a 4x5 pinhole camera, and peel-apart instant film.

From this series "Wheel, Death Valley" was selected for the show "Photography at High Speed: A Historical and Contemporary Exhibit" at the Los Angeles County Fair, and was awarded the finalist and legacy awards. "Cook Bank, Rhyolite" traveled to New York for an exhibit at the 440 Gallery juried by the painter David Humphrey. This acceptance of my work was an important milestone for me as it served as validation that I was on the right path. I'm drawn to the work of Paul Strand, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, and Group f/64.
Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
With the pinhole camera, I had to learn to exploit my intuition and trust my own judgment. I had brought along a light meter and a pinhole exposure calculator on my trip to the Eastern Sierra, but quickly abandoned these tools in favor of using my intuition to read light. I enjoyed the spontaneity fostered by the pinhole process, and emerged from the experience with improved photographic skills.

Copyright © 2010 Laura campbell
Wheel, Death Valley.
Made with a Zero45 and peel apart instant film, in Death Valley National Park.
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
I'd like to experiment with pinhole photographs made with my 8x10 Agfa camera, and print those photographs in gravure. Or maybe I should try putting a gravure plate in the camera behind a pinhole and leave it out in the Death Valley sun.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
My pinhole camera is a Zero Image 4x5 camera designed by Zernike Au. For lens based projects, I use an Agfa 8x10 Commercial View, and Efke film that I develop by inspection. My current work is printed in gravure.
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
Pinhole photography is important to me as it allows me to create dream time images in my waking state.
 
Final Thoughts: Laura's story is one of survival. Facing a life-threatening illness, she prioritized her life and focused her work into an explosion of creativity. Read her complete biography for more information on her story.

- BJK, March 2010.