Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Succulent Cluster
4" x 7"
photographic print

Today I found myself back in the darkroom after thirty years. I spent the day with my friend Modesto, who teaches at the Exploratorium, a world-class science museum in San Francisco. Now usually when I get together with Moe, we build high-end stereo speakers from scratch. However, this time we made cameras out of paint cans. Yes, paint cans. Welcome to the world of pin hole photography where just about anything can be transformed into a camera. Cameras have been made out of sardine cans, luggage, cowboy boots, automobiles, even empty rooms. The images are almost always dream-like and wonderfully mysterious.

The photo above was take with my "camera" of a succulent plant in Moe's backyard onto photography paper with a 50 second exposure. Later, after development, it was printed contact style, using a contrast filter onto a second sheet of paper to get the positive image.

My new camera, it costs way less than my Nikon digital SLR.

The camera is a 1 quart paint can with a pin hole through a thin copper sheet for the lens. The shutter is the black plastic sheet, which is raised to expose the print paper inside. Some pin holes use regular 35mm or 120mm film, but others like this one use photography paper which is inside, flush against the opposite side of the can. To remove the paper a paint can opener is used to pop off the lid. So much fun!


  1. Like it a lot. Seems like it gets cooler the bigger you make the image. Reminds me of Monet's water lilies, tho I'm not sure why...maybe the positive spaces seem to float on the background.

  2. Ah, cool. It was world pinhole photography day right? Sometimes I miss the smell of the developer but things have become a lot easier with digital.
    I like the picture, nice depth.

  3. Moe sounds like a cool friend to hang out with.. The photo reminds me of original moon footage. I used to take a lot of b/w photos which I developed myself at a club...ahhh memories of being in the darkroom with the smell of vinegar comes flooding back...Thanks for your comments at my blog btw. All the best to the family

  4. No Way! Now I want to go do this!! very cool!

    have a great week, Denny!



  5. wow! this is so cool! xoxoBex