Buy The Book
HomeAbout The BookShopBlogNewsPinhole 101ContactJoin us on Facebook
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 16th, 2010 : Jamie House

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.

First experiences with pinhole photography
I first got interested in pinhole photography aged eleven years old, at a local museum summer school where we made pinhole cameras out of baked bean tins and took photographs of Chepstow castle (claim to fame, they shot the film Ivan hoe there).The sense of wonderment and awe when I processed the paper negative in the darkroom, left an indelible mark on me. The alchemical process of transformation through a tiny aperture and light proof dark chamber amazes me to this very day.

Jamie House
  Email me Follow me on Facebook Check my website
I have been practising the art form of pinhole photography for ten years, I am constantly learning new things about this idiosyncratic medium that surprise and amaze me. Through the World Wide Web I have a large worldwide arena to share my work and ideas, and learn a lot from fellow practitioners in pinhole photography and the approaches and methodology they apply. The internet has opened up much collaboration for me with Pinhole photographers such as; Jo Babcock where we are currently sending pinhole camera disguised as parcels back and forward to each other with the shutter open mapping the journey from England to America with light, capturing a multiplicity of instants.

Creative influences
Many of my points of inspiration and sources of creative influence come from art movements and artists; one movement that inspires my practice is cubism and the idea that it constructed a new visual language for people to view the world afresh.

The working methodology of the cubists interested me because their work existed in a laboratory conditions, where they experimented and juxtaposed different forms of art from different cultures. Visually I am very interested in the cubists attempt to create a three dimensional visual representation, on two dimensional picture planes allowing for many different perspectives and moments in time to be condensed into one picture.

A branch of cubism I find fascinating is analytical cubism where they sought to analyse natural forms and reduce these forms into basic geometric parts on two-dimensional picture plane. I admire the cubists way they deconstructed the picture plane into forms such as the cylinder, sphere and cone to represent the natural world. Their work validated this idea that it's okay to make self-reflexive work about the medium you're using. I do this with my practice and I explore, with the aid of the pinhole camera, ideas of multiplicity of moments being recorded through long exposures. That's in opposition to traditional photography and the idea of the decisive moment clique coined by Henri Cartier Bresson.

For me it's the pinhole camera that takes the image not the photographer. Since the gaze of the photographer, mediated through the cameras lens, does not exist, it allows great freedom to explore ideas.

In my project Pinhole Parcel project, I explore the journey of a parcel. Instead of me controlling the exposure and framing the shot, this was controlled by the postal system and serendipity. The writer and critic Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff succinctly contextualises my project: "The world as seen from within a peripatetic pinhole parcel is a wondrous place. Who'd have thought that our mail leads a life of such mystical abstract vision? Where light shatters and refracts ad infinitum, revealing and concealing the mystery of what some call 'reality'?".

I am currently exploring the idea of journeys albeit a more metaphorical journeys in my project stranger. This body of work explores the journey between two people that don't know each other. For this project I have produced imagery using mail art and pinhole photography, to examine the role of the "stranger" in society and why we are interested in people we don't know. These images show chance encounters and intimate double exposure portraits (of myself and the participants), of people who have not met in person and only meet by the mediated gaze of the pinhole camera. This project explores the way we remotely interact with others in the information age. For this project I mined the World Wide Web for addresses and sent people pinhole cameras disguised as parcels.

you can participate in jamie's pinhole litter project. Want to learn more, just check out the site.
Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
The freedom it allows me outside the constrained world of photography and commerce of regulated film or file sizes and exposures. With pinhole photography I can design a camera that's fit for purpose, or has some sort of relationship with the object I am photographing, this appeals to me the fact the possibilities are infinite the only constraints being your imagination

Copyright © 2010 jamie house
image from the stranger series.
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
I would like to further experiment with multi-holed pinhole cameras to see how many holes I can make in a camera until I reach the threshold of abstraction annihilating the image.

Since building England's largest camera obscura and light experimentation chamber, I am going to (in the next year) continue to experiment with the camera obscura as a fertile place for me to experiment with different types of lens, light effects, and perceptual and physiological effects it has on people being immersed into the camera obsuras dark chamber this new project will take me across England exploring particular sites.

Check out Jamie's pinhole blog and follow all of his photographic explorations.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
I make my cameras out of old postal boxes use mostly black and white processes but also experiment with colour processes.
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
It's a incredibly democratic medium that lets any one regardless of financial situation to make a simple image making device that create otherworldly distorted and wondrous images. For me pinhole photography is a chance to get back to the fundamentals of photography; light, optics, and time.
 
Final Thoughts: Jamie's Stranger series is evocative and haunting. The combination of multiple exposures produces an eeiry combination in this creative social experiment. To view more of Jamie's work, you can find him through numerous websites: www.jamiehousephotography.co.uk, www.pinholeparcelproject.com, and www.pinholelitterproject.com.

- BJK, April 2010.