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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.

December 4th, 2009 : Ky Lewis
My name is Ky Lewis, I've always loved photography and creating images and so I grew up dabbling in all forms of image making, everything from graphics, illustration and printmaking to photography which is my main passion with a sprinkle of the others thrown in. I suppose my current "job" is facilitator to my three children and I do my "thing" when I can.

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 way back when I was at college in the 80's, but I never actually pursued that type of photography. I waited until about four years ago when I began to get more time and started to look at what was going on around me. My first pinhole was a homemade matchbox which just broke down all the barriers as it was so throw away, wonderful. I like the unexpected and was intrigued by what you could get from so little.

Ky Lewis
kylewis1@me.com
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It's hard to state any one influence. I have looked at so many images over the years in art, photography, pinhole work, and printmaking. I would like to think that all the years of art training have made a difference to the way I look at the world, and historically, photographers such as Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Cartier Bresson, Eadweard Muybridge Bill Brandt, Edward Steichen have been an inspiration. There are many more that I can't think of at the moment as well. The more contemporary influences are photographers such as Lena Kallberg, Walter Crump, aka bea, cedar-9, Noriko Ohba, Michael Hensdill, and Justin Quinell and so many others that I see on blogs or Flickr and the like.
Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
I would say blur is the most attractive to me and probably the easiest to obtain. I don't strive to have pinsharp images— I may as well use a camera with a lens. I think I'm trying to capture something of the moment, an essence of the place or the event. The images I love the most are those that have captured the movements that we don't consciously register, those we ignore.

I love creating narratives with the my multiple pinholed cameras and I suppose these hark back to my illustration days. I want my images to take you somewhere else, not to try and be a realistic representation of the subject.

 

Copyright © 2009 Ky Lewis
The Keepers 2009
Bee Keeping at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve in South London. These are not professional bee keepers but children with enthusiasm and for the most part no fear! The hives are important for the area and the reserve, we need bees! The image was made using a PinholeBlender 120 with expired Kodak T400CN film from 2004. There are three exposures in this image and the approximate length of these was about three seconds or so each as far as I remember.
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
Solargraphy! I have containers at the ready and I just need time to load them up. I would also like to explore more alternative printing processes and possibly mix these with my relief printmaking. I would also like to explore using Liquid Light with pinhole.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
I have far too many cameras, people just seem to give them to me! And when they don't work I'll turn them into pinholes if and when I can.

I use my matchbox pinholes as well as my cashewnut cancam (the camera which inspired me to set up a Flickr group— Pinhole CylindricalCanCams. At the moment I seem to be using the Holga WPC120 an awful lot. I have taken the mask out, the vignette is stronger this way, also using slow film gives me more room to explore movement within the image.

I own a Zero612b and love the versatility of this camera but it doesn't go out too much, I'm still a bit precious with it. I prefer the durability of the homemade and my HolgaWPC. I also use Pinhole Blenders and have the 120 large and the 35 mini. I also have many card and kit cams, again in these I prefer using the slowest expired film I can find.

At present I don't use any specific development techniques but these would be something to explore, especially those that would take me closer to a lith print. I feel at the moment that I am still a long way from getting the right exposures let alone messing with developing.
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
I believe it gives me the opportunity to create a different type of image to those that I make with my other cameras. I love the layering and multiple exposures I achieve with other cams, but there is something softer to this type of image when pinholing. I only really use analogue but pinholing takes me right back to basics and I love that relationship with the light and the film. I'm not that technical and i still "wing" it when it comes to exposures but for the most part I'm not that far off. I suppose the joy of seeing that picture emerge, well there's nothing like it!
 
Final Thoughts: The work of Ky Lewis is whimsical and imaginative. Her homemade cameras are fascinating creations and the images captured from them are visual poetry. I first met Ky through Flickr and I have enjoyed watching her work progress over the years. She is also serves as a featured artist in my new book. As a parent, I appreciate how Ky combines her photography and her role as a parent. It proves that you can still be an active photographer when you are a full-time mother or father. Ky tends to create unusual cameras and I encourage you to check out her Flickr group related to cylindrical pinhole cameras. To check out more of her personal work, review her website today.

- BJK, December 2009.