Aside

Required Materials:

  • 5×7 Black and White photo paper.
  • Photo chemicals: Developer, Stop Bath, and Fixer.
  • Plexiglass sheet larger than 5×7
  • Trays and tongs for each developing solution, 5×7 or larger.
  • Red Safe Light
  • 15 watt bulb 
  • Drop light electrical cord

 

Turn your bathroom into a darkroom:

Image

  • Mix your photo chemicals according to manufacturers directions.
  • Set up your stations, 1 for developing, 1 for stop bath, and 1 for fixing.

For the following steps, you must have the room completely blocked from white light, which means you may have to stop the bathroom door cracks with towels, and instal and use only your red safe light.

  • Take your Pinhole camera into the darkroom and remove the lid.
  • Open your photo paper packet, and remove a single piece of photo paper.
  • Immediately close the paper packet to avoid accidentally exposing the whole package.
  • Insert a piece of photo paper against the wall of the canister opposite of the pinhole.  The shiny side of the paper should be facing toward the pinhole.
    Image

    This step was done out of the darkroom for photographic purposes only!! Do Not Do!

  • The paper should also be placed horizontal/landscape position.
  • Make sure shutter is completely covering the pinhole, and put the lid back on the canister.
  • You may wish to tape the lid closed to as a precaution for keeping any extra light out ( I personally did not do this step).

Now you can head out and take a picture!

  • Find something interesting to look at, aim the camera, remain still, and open the shutter.  The website I referenced for this project, http://users.rcn.com/stewoody/makecam.htm, recommended leaving the shutter open for 20 seconds on a bright day, which is what I did.
  • After 20 seconds, close the shutter, and head back to the darkroom the develop the paper negative.

Developing the paper negative:

  • Once in the darkroom under the safe light, open the camera and remove your paper.
  • Place the paper in the developing solution and gently agitate the tray.  Follow manufacturer’s recommendation for developing time, or observe the paper until it looks developed enough to you.  I kept mine in for 30 seconds.
  • Remove with tongs and place into the stop bath solution.
  • Agitate the paper in the stop bath solution for about 10 seconds.
  • Remove with tongs and place into the fixing solution.
  • Once the paper is in the fixing solution it is safe to turn on your regular white lights.
  • Keep paper in fixer for 2 minutes.
Image

Here is my negative in the fixer. 

  • Remove from fixer and rinse for several minutes then dry.
  • Once the paper negative is dry we can make a print.

Thoughts so far: 

I was excited to see that I was able to capture something.  I guess my aim was a little off because I didn’t get quite what I thought I was aiming at.  I am not sure why only such a small portion of my paper is a readable image.  Such an odd exposure may be due to: my camera letting in light, light leaking into the darkroom while loading, or the paper was loaded to far in one direction rather than centered in front of the pinhole.

Printing from the paper negative

  • In the darkroom under the red safe light, get another piece of photo paper ready.
  • Open your photo paper packet, and remove a single piece of photo paper.
  • Immediately close the paper packet to avoid accidentally exposing the whole package.
  • Place the new piece of paper shiny side up on a flat surface.
  • Place your paper negative picture side down on top of the unexposed photo paper, i.e. shiny side touching.
  • Place your sheet of plexiglass over the top of your papers, this keeps them smushed together.
  • Now you can use your 15 watt white light to expose the paper. 
  • http://users.rcn.com/stewoody/makecam.htm recommends holding the light 3 ft from the paper for a few seconds.  I could not find a 15watt light bulb that would fit in my drop light so I just turned on the regular bathroom light.  
  • In both methods this process is trial and error for figuring out how long you should expose the paper to light.  

Developing the Print

  • The process for developing the print is the exact same process as developing the negative.
  •  Place the paper in the developing solution and gently agitate the tray.  Follow manufacturer’s recommendation for developing time, or observe the paper until it looks developed enough to you.  I kept mine in for 30 seconds.
  • Remove with tongs and place into the stop bath solution.
  • Agitate the paper in the stop bath solution for about 10 seconds.
  • Remove with tongs and place into the fixing solution.
  • Once the paper is in the fixing solution it is safe to turn on your regular white lights.
  • Keep paper in fixer for 2 minutes.

Here are 2 separate attempts at developing a print: 

Image

First print in the fixer.

 It is a little too dark.  So I tried it again for less time.

Image

Attempt number 2 in the fixer.

This time there was too little exposure time.  I tried one more time and got almost identical results as the first time.  Unfortunately, I kept bad records and cannot remember how long I exposed these for.

Image

The negative plus 3 prints.  

 

Image

The negative and 3 prints cropped.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoy doing projects like this so I had a fun time.  I would definitely do it again, probably with a better designed pinhole camera, better records of exposure and developing time, more experimentation and practice in general.  

Art Experiment: DIY Pinhole Camera Part 2:

Advertisements

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Art Experiment: DIY Pinhole Camera Part 1 « UWP Art History 343

  2. Where did you find the photo chemicals and how expensive were they? Also, would you find it easier to use a smaller pin hole camera to find a better aim? I remember making a single action one in high school and you could only use a single frame of negative strip. It was a lot more work but the negative seemed a little cleaner and easier to focus.

  3. I ordered them from Amazon. I used Kodak brand for the developer and fixer. I opted to just use water for the stop bath. I don’t have my receipt any more but they weren’t that expensive. Yes, I think if the camera was smaller, or maybe square/rectangular it probably would have helped. There are a ton of varieties and how tos out there so I’m sure after some trial and error I could find one that worked for me I also have one that I made from a kit that holds a whole roll of film but I haven’t used it up yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s