Imagine, thousands of people making a photograph on a single day. A flower blooms in Georgia while the snow falls in Russia, a rooster crows while a cannon booms three states away, all happening simultaneously and all photographed through a pinprick of a lens-less camera. On April 26, thousands of photographers will participate in Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Now in its 15th year, the event was founded as a way to connect people from all over the world through photography. Each year on the last Sunday in April, photographers make a pinhole photograph, and scan and upload their image to the online gallery at pinholeday.org.
According to their mission statement, the premise is simple, “to take some time off from the increasingly technological world we live in and to participate in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph.” The beauty of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is in its simplicity. A shoebox or tin can and some black paint can become a camera that distorts and re-imagines the photographer’s surroundings. With an aptitude for long exposures, pinhole photographs are able to freeze fractions of seconds as well as record longer time-lapsed moments. The resulting photographs embrace accident and fluke, rejecting the perfection standards of the digital age.
Participants use film, paper negatives, digital technology, homemade and commercial-grade cameras to contribute one photograph with a title, a caption, and a description of their camera. Last year’s refreshingly unpretentious submissions can be seen here, accompanied by light-hearted captions such as, “My camera is made from a biscuit tin!” and “Taken in front of our house. The cat wouldn’t come into the photo.” This simple exercise in image-making and community connection succeeds in making itself accessible to all. Participants share their process such as, “Camera made from Pringles can, black & white photographic paper negative, pinhole made in aluminum from Red Bull can. F.256. About 5 minutes exposure near window.”
Locally organized events will be held in many countries, and include workshops, symposiums, meetings, and scholastic programs. We eagerly await the results of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day to see what the world looks like through so many tiny apertures and so many pairs of eyes.
Learn more about Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day and how to participate at pinholeday.org.
Kat Kiernan is the Editor-in-Chief of Don't Take Pictures and sometimes tries her hand at pinhole photography.