Some Assembly Required: Jari Savijärvi

This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

Wooden Path , made with 4x5 pinhole camera and lith film.

Wooden Path, made with 4x5 pinhole camera and lith film.

Jari Savijärvi, Finland

As a collector of historic cameras, Jari Savijärvi constructed his 4x5” pinhole camera to gain a deeper understanding of camera mechanics and the properties of film. Inspired by the pinhole photographs made by his friends, Savijärvi’s goal was to have the camera ready in time for this year’s Worldwide Pinhole Day.  He completed the camera far enough in advance to test it out and produce moody landscapes.

Savijärvi used pinewood, a circular table saw and wood glue to construct the simple camera body. The lens board attaches to the body with two lid locks and is made from plywood. For a clever modification, an extension piece can be added between the body and the lens board to extend the focal length to 75mm. Rather than attach the film to the inside of the back of the box, for a more sophisticated system, Savijärvi carved a groove for film holders and uses two rubber bands to hold them in place. The entire camera is made light-tight with a black velvet cloth secured over the film holders.

The pinhole itself measures 0.3mm in diameter (an aperture of roughly 1:206) and is drilled into a piece of aluminum. Black adhesive tape functions as a shutter, unless the camera is using slow ortho film, with a speed of 100, in which case Savijärvi is able to attach a real shutter to the lens board. The camera produces beautifully clear photographs on the 4x5 lith film he inherited, and which served as an impetus for the construction of his camera.

4x5 pinhole camera with shutter attached.

4x5 pinhole camera with shutter attached.

View more of Savijärvi’s work on his website.

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