Pinhole photography uses the most basic concepts of a camera. A lightproof box, an aperture, and light-sensitive material. As a beginner, using pinhole can be an exciting introduction to analog photography as it reduces it to its most basic elements. [source]
In short, the Pinhole technique resulting in non-sharp soft-blur not-focused images with lots of imperfection. And I have a soft spot for it.
You can make your own Pinhole camera, or buy the pinhole cameras if it’s up to your alley. But for a lazy bum like me (to make my own pinhole camera and no capacity to develop film) — when I heard about Kickstarter project by Thingyfy for Pinhole Pro X that can fit my camera (Sony A7iii) e-mount all the way last year, I backed it right away. The company already made 2 previous pinhole lenses and I somehow just knew about it so yah. I got the lens on 17/02 night and tried first test shots the next sunset time from my window.
First try —ever. I still figure out and play around. It indeed has its own charms.
There’s something warm and fuzzy about photos that are in lesser quality by design. It somehow felt more ‘raw’ and as it is— hence it feels more honest. If you’re willing to hear more about it deeper — In my opinion, feelings toward how one’s take a photo are a reflection of one’s own internal projection.
Personally, I don’t have the healthy confidence and I have a fair share of self-doubts and tend to shy away from something grand cause the perpetual impostor syndrome with the constant questioning of Am I good enough to earn this good thing? You know, those kinds of voices. As much as I try to keep it check and balance with healthy positive counters, it stills there to linger. ‘This’ side loves something that is imperfect cause it’s more familiar to her, cause it is like holding up a mirror that matches the unfinished vibe.
But more importantly- taking imperfect photos by some technique — it shows the welcoming stance and beauty of arriving as it is with the messes and noises just the way you are. And still, you belong just like anything else. I think that’s what I like about the Pinhole technique.
Think about it this way:
You sit on your bed quietly while the music played from the other room. The music is muffled, you can’t hear it at its best quality — but yet you’re captivated and somehow it makes you feel nostalgic and left out but in peace.
You know, something about imperfection that feels more intimate than polished professional-grade craft. I guess that’s one of the factors that makes Lo-Fi Mix Chill genre music on Youtube is such a hit. Or deep-fried memes, or badly made something that takes a fun of the non-glossy and messy life some have. It’s just more relatable that way.
(I mean unless we’re in a professional/commercial context, of course, everything has to be its best and stellar craft quality, nobody wants to watch a grainy blurry Box-Office movie, no doyyyy)
PS: I have other vintage imperfect lenses with this sentiment (a used 30 years old Helios 44–2 58mm f2 lens) it has its charm and characteristic- in which I will write another essay sometime.
So— On Saturday 22/02 at 4.30pm, I took a long walk (and bus ride) brought this ‘lens’ for a try. I had quite a hassle figuring out how to use this lens, or what to expect of the images supposed to look and feel like. So I focused on taking photos that have enough light and the object is present in the composition and decide what to do later.
Below are the photo results from a beginner me, shot via Sony A7iii, processed with Lightroom. Please have a scroll! :)
Thank you for scrolling this far.
In a slightly relevant topic, I have a rant.
Disclaimer: I am not sponsoring, defending, or endorsing anything. This is pure my personal POV rant and observation over the course of months to years.
So, I read a lot of unnecessary angry comments about this thing, some of them rational and some of them just straight up snob and disrespect the actual Pinhole technique that’s existed since the 1600s. Sure, capitalism is bad, and everything is just ridiculous on the market this day. Anything for the cash monay am I rite. But we can spot which one is the legit ridiculous pretentious gimmick product (which more likely not sustain enough for years)— or a product that just pure experimental that serves the simple purpose by doing the job, whether it’s basic, wacky, and/ or ridiculous.
And the thing with Pinhole lens by this company— they are not only selling the thing (which you can just DIY yourself for much much cheaper price, doy) — but they sell the thing for saving time, the custom fit for different gears, a slight ease to focus capturing the charm and the feeling of pinhole camera. For that benchmark, the lens does a decent job to adapt the pinhole technique to the modern camera.
And — They sell the feeling you get.
I learn that from 5 years (and counting) working in the Advertising industry as a creative. When someone’s selling a product with lots of competition out there; the apt marketing insight is not to tell people to ‘buy this X cause it takes perfect X’ cause yeah sure, so is the other stellar lens’ brand. What makes the product stands differently? Money is superficial but its the core of life hat makes the world go round, unfortunately —but we also need to go deeper than that. We gotta sell ‘the feeling’, untangible something as currency — hence the numbers are more justified that way. You grab the attention that way.
And so does the other company making other ‘novelty’ products, toys or one’s interests in this relevant context. They make things that are not crucially purposeful and noble problem-solving. Are they in the wrong? Not exactly and I’m not a juror so I don’t know. This is the reality of the commercial world we live in with its ridicule wonders that are not meant for everybody. We can always opt-out if something is just not up in our alley and found ones that fit. There are things that save a life, there are things that support greater goods, there are things that serve a higher purpose, and there are things that are for fun. It’s what the business/ commercial world’s made of, right?
If something is too ridiculous and doesn’t make any sense for you, maybe it’s just not for you, you’re not the target market and the audience of the product. And it’s a waste of good energy to work up the hate on things you can just walk away from. I mean, the energy can be shifted to something more beneficial. I just… you know, those snobs with their snob comments— Just…Why?
Okay end of my rant in this predicament, thank you for coming to my TED talk.
PS: Sorry for lots of grammar errors, I’m still learning English every day.