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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.

April 2nd, 2010 : Nancy Breslin
Nancy Breslin, has been living for the past 12 years in Newark, Delaware. She teaches photography part-time at the University of Delaware.

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.
In 2002 I saw the Zero 2000 in the Freestyle catalog and bought it on impulse. I didn't have particular plans for it, but had it in my bag when I met a friend for lunch. I put the camera on the table and really loved the resulting image. This camera, plus a mini-tripod and light meter, have been in my bag ever since. As to influences, I had little familiarity with pinhole photography when I started working this way, but I have long liked photographers who, despite using lensed cameras, have captured the world in a dream-like way, such as the pictorialists (particularly Gertrude Kasebier), the ParkeHarrisons, and Deborah Turbeville.

Nancy Breslin
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Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
The long exposures provide much of the dreaminess. The simplicity (put the camera down and slide open the shutter) allows me to be "working" while at social events, dinner parties, etc. Rather than being isolated behind a viewfinder, I may even be in the picture, enjoying my meal and the company.

Copyright © 2010 nancy breslin
7-14-09. Tea at the Mock Turtle, Brighton, England.
2 minute pinhole exposure. I'm there with my husband and daughter, and with three pots of tea and plates of dessert, it was a squeeze to place the camera and tripod on the table.

see it on flickr
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
I keep acquiring new cameras, so each becomes an experiment. I recently built and shot with a P-Sharan pinhole camera, and I'm working through my first roll in a Blackbird Fly. I've also been using a Diana +, in both pinhole and lensed modes
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
My main camera is a Zero Image 2000, and I prefer Tmax 400 film. I process it myself, and scan the negatives for fotolog and flickr, and sometimes for inkjet prints, although I've been printing my "Squaremeals" series in silver gelatin. In my home darkroom I can only easily print up to 11x14, so when I go larger I'll turn to my Epson 4800. With my Diana+ I prefer Kodak VC 400 film, and many of those images end up as gum bichromate prints (but few of those are pinhole images).
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
Once I discovered pinhole photography I really embraced it, and I'm not entirely sure why. When working with a lensed camera I was obsessive about composition (and almost always printed full frame) yet I was happy to give up that control. I love the surprise that comes each time I process a roll— the details in the negatives that I didn't even notice at the time, and the way the long exposure transforms my experience into something new. I also like the social aspect of pinhole— both the welcoming community of alternative artists, and the way the camera invites even strangers to ask about it.

Copyright © 2010 nancy breslin
editor's choice:

Cecil County Fair, 2004
Camera: zero image pinhole.

see it on flickr
 
Final Thoughts: I am intrigued by Nancy's "Squaremeals" series as I feel like an outsider looking in, but at the same time invited. Her work on this set of images reminds us that the photographer does not always have to stay behind the camera and that sometimes the creation of the image is dependent on participation.

- BJK, April 2010.