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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 31st, 2009 : María Luisa Santos Cuéllar
My name is María Luisa Santos Cuéllar and I live in Oaxaca, México. I studied accounting and a have a marketing masters, but now I'm a photographer and silkscreen printer.

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 started to study photography in 2003 and I took almost every course that came to my town. I like to experiment with a lot of analog things. I got interested when I read about pinhole cameras in a book and in 2005 I took a course in my town. Since them I've been making my own cameras. I like to make each camera different because I'm looking for differents results.

María Luisa Santos Cuéllar
hola@michi.com.mx
Follow me on Flickr Follow me on Flickr
Which characteristics of pinhole are most attractive to you and applicable to your work?
I like to use film because I want to go out and it's great to have many rolls of film available. I can carry my pinhole camera everywhere I go, because we never know when can we take a great photograph.

Copyright © 2009 MarÍa Luisa Santos CuÉllar
Waiting
Which new techniques would you like to experiment within the year?
I like to experiment with multiple pinholes and different apertures. I would like to use 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" sheet film.
What creative tools and techniques do you use, such as any specific cameras, film, development, or printing processes?
I use a needle to make the pinhole because is easiest and a piece of can. I have used cigarette boxes, a matchbox, an oatmeal can, and a variety of other containers. I try to use different materials because each one gives a different result. It is nice to use film (35 mm, 120 mm, 4" x 5") and paper because the results are totally different in each one.
Why is pinhole photography important to you?
Because I like to have the control regarding the exposure, the material, and the size of the negative. I like to make my own cameras because it is very personal. I shoot with pinhole cameras, because I like the process which I find is magical and unreal. The advantages are that no one can take the same photo and in each image, you capture the soul.
 
Final Thoughts: Maria is a featured artist in my book and I really enjoy her work. She carries a pinhole camera with her daily, capturing the common objects of her environment. Like many of the previously featured artists, her work is whimsical, enjoyable, and off-beat. To check out more of her personal work, check out her website at www.michi.com.mx.

- BJK, December 2009.