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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.

June 4th, 2010 : Scott Speck
I am Scott Speck, a fine art pinhole photographer, and I live in Maryland. My professional occupation is a scientific software developer, and I have backgrounds in Astrophysics, Computer Science, Physics, and Mathematics.
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 first got interested in pinhole photography back in 1996, when I decided to try my hand again at film photography and wanted a cheap, easy-to-use camera. I ordered a Zero Image 2000 6x6cm pinhole camera, and my wife and I experimented with it, creating some results that just blew me away. About a year later, I bought a Zero Image 4x5 pinhole camera, and I was immediately hooked by the clear, ultrawide view through this camera (shooting with its short 25mm focal length). My creative influences consist of many photographers I have met, both on f295.org and on flickr.com. I am constantly awed, amazed, and inspired by their work.

Scott Speck
  Email me Follow me on Flickr Check my website Follow me on Facebook
Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
There are two aspects of the pinhole that I love most -- infinite depth of field, allowing me to experiment with near-to-far perspectives, as well as the rectilinear imaging characteristics of the pinhole, which, for ultrawide cameras, allows the creation of fascinating image distortions near the edges.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Speck
Columns in Marble
U.S. National Archives, by Scott Speck, 2 minute ultrawide pinhole exposure, f/138, Fuji 160 4x5 color negative

View it on flickr!
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
As for new techniques, I want to experiment more with time-evolving scenes, creating blurred impressions of motion, as well as with "ghost images" via multiple exposures. I've done a little of both, but I want to work on both techniques a lot more. I also want to play a lot more with circular anamorphic cameras.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
I like ultrawide pinhole cameras, like the Zero Image 4x5, or the Abelson Scope Works "Speck Scope" that is a metal ultrawide pinhole camera. Due to my ultrawide preferences, I typically avoid color slides, with more limited dynamic range, and I go mostly for black/white and some color negative films, since I need to maximize my dynamic range, especially when dealing with the major vignetting characteristics of the ultrawide pinhole. My favorite portrait pinhole films are TMAX 400 and Portra 400, both of which allow me to shoot at ISO=400 in the 4x5 format. For longer exposures, I prefer Fuji Acros-100 b/w film, due to its excellent reciprocity predictability, as well as Fuji Pro 160 film. When shooting in medium format, I also really like Ilford PanF-50 b/w film.
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
Pinhole photography is the center of my creative universe. I love the simplicity of the format, as well as the challenge of capturing drama and heightening the impact of a scene via infinite depth of field and ultrawide fields of view. The moment I saw my first roll of pinhole negatives, I knew I had found my home in terms of modalities of artistic expression through a camera. No other photographic choice has ever felt so immediately "right" to me.
 
Final Thoughts: Scott's wide angle images are arresting. They are a simple example of how pinhole photography can capture more than the human eye can see, and oftentimes, more than the human mind can imagine. I first interviewed Scott in 2008 for my book. You can find his profile and photo in the Featured Artists section.Learn more about Scott at www.scottspeck.com.

- BJK, June 2010.