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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.

November 27th, 2009 : Therese Brown
Therese Brown
El Cerrito, CA

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.
It was in 2006 that I first got interested in pinhole photography. A friend of mine on Flickr was an avid fan and practitioner and I became acquainted with some other phenomenal artists of the practice through his influence. I started practicing shortly thereafter, first with body caps on a couple of my film SLRs and then in 2007 with my pinholga that I made at a pinhole workshop with Martha Casanave in Monterey.

As far as creative influences that have shaped my own personal style, I would say those come both from the outside such as other pinholers I admire, but also internal musings and imagination. The natural world and earth's gifts are always very inspiring to me.

Therese Brown
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Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
I love the long exposures of pinhole. This passage of time, continuum if you will, is a very real example of the connectedness of all life to me. I love to find movement and stillness together in an well as total movement, wandering through the woods or by the ocean, keeping my shutter open as I walk. That movement is also very integral to my self portrait work...rather than a static image of a person, you see the subtle (and not so subtle movements) that sort of represent the spirit beneath the physical form.

Infinite depth of field is also something that delights me and allows for interesting and tweaked perspectives.

Copyright © 2009 Therese Brown
Wandering Albany Bulb
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
I would like to make more still life images, playing with perspective, in addition to complimenting stillness with motion.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
Iʼm using a modified Holga (pinholga) for a year long project this year, making a daily self portait to chronicle my 50th year. For this project, Iʼm exclusively using black and white film and will be printing out small 5 x 5 gelatin silver prints to mount on panels, corresponding to each month of the year.

My other most common tool is a Zero 69 camera made by Zero Image. I like to use this with both color or black and white film.

Lastly, I have an underused paintcan pinhole with which to make paper negatives. This is a fun tool and I sadly overlook it most of the time!

For my black and white work, I use both traditional gelatin silver technique in the
darkroom, but also cyanotype printing (making larger negatives from the originals on my computer printer).
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
I think the primary reason why pinhole photography is important to me, is because it's what excites me and keeps my imagination churning. I like the unpredictability of it...well, the way I practice the art. Iʼm big on experimentation and I feel pinhole offers a lot in that regard. Besides that, the simplicity of a pinhole camera delights and amazes me...who would guess that a simple box with a tiny whole in it for light might produce wonderful works of art?!
Final Thoughts: There is a haunting feeling of both isolation and honesty found in Therese's work. It is this simple honesty, captured by a simple box and hole and rendered on a gelatin surface, that is captivating. Her documentary style captures and records the fascinating details of the mundane. Everything from candid self-portraits to vegetable still lifes are rendered with imagination and interesting perspective. For more of Therese's inspirational work, please visit her entries on TypePad.

- BJK, November 2009.