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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 24th, 2009 : Erin Malone
Erin Malone is a UX Designer, Partner - Tangible UX, and resides in San Francisco, 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.
I first started seriously shooting pinhole in 2005, a couple of years after taking a pinhole class from Martha Casanave. I am quite enamored with the work of Georgia O'Keefe and the photographic work of Eliot Porter. There are other photographers I admire but they are too many to name.

Erin Malone
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Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
I was drawn to the ability to capture light and motion through the long exposures. I first used Polaroid material in Martha's class but didn't think of it as a serious medium until a workshop with Stuart Scofield in the White Mountains - where he and another instructor were using Polaroid. I was already shooting color with a digital SLR, so I picked up some color Polaroid and the Zero Image 45 and the rest is history. The ability to capture motion and to use the long exposures is akin to painting.

Copyright © 2009 ERIN MALONE
Along the Edge, 2008
Pinhole on Polaroid type 79, Zero Image 45
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
I am interested in working on some setup and still life type work like the work of Jesseca Ferguson who does these amazing pinholes of constructed dioramas. I am also experimenting with the fuji peel apart 4x5 film as the Polaroid film is no longer with us. It's not the same, but I am experimenting with zone plates and exposures to find the right combo in order to continue my landscape series.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?

I go back and forth between a Zero Image 45 and a Wista 4x5 Field camera. I use zone plates a lot as well as pinholes. My primary film is the 4x5 Polaroid films - Type 79 and Type 59 - although as I mentioned before, they are no longer made, so I am now working through my stockpile and experimenting with the Fuji instant films.

My pinhole work is getting more and more abstract - more painterly so I am really experimenting with different papers and am looking to try out some encaustic techniques on final prints.

Why is pinhole photography important to you?
Pinhole is important to me because it forces me to think about what I am seeing, to previsualize my composition and then to be patient. I find working in pinhole to be very Zen. This is not a rapid, snapshot kind of photography and I like that.
Final Thoughts: Erin describes her work as painterly and her Polaroid images are beautiful abstractions of the natural work. I was first introduced to her work while searching for artists to place in my book. Regrettably there where timing issues and it just didn't work out, although I wanted to highlight and feature her marvelous work. Erin is also the Publisher and Editor In Chief of "Without Lenses" which is a quarterly journal that explores the art and craft of lensless photography.

To check out more of her personal work, check out her website at Erin is also the author of "Designing Social Interfaces" and I highly recommend this title for those interested in this topic.

- BJK, December 2009.