There was a problem with a light leak in the 4x5 Pinhole Lab Camera. I had fixed it but I loaded the camera and left it out in the sun for three days to make sure. It didn’t seem right to mix some developer for just one sheet so I had to come up with a project for this camera.
It’s also still very cold, so it had to be something that could be done indoors. The light leak hadn’t shown itself under less bright light. It would probably be OK. (The camera did turn out to be light-tight.)
I’ve been following the discussions lately in the Facebook group Photography Books and Theory but really haven’t had much to contribute. I worked my whole adult life in college libraries and read most of their TR classification, so I never had much incentive to buy photography books on my own. I do have a modest collection which I haven’t looked at for some time. The idea came to me to do a series of self-portraits while reading them.
I am still interested in experimenting with ultra-wide angle so I decided to use the 36mm setting. I also wanted to make sure I could reach the shutter from where I was sitting.
I’ve been getting a little sick of all the discussions about how to get the sharpest image with a pinhole camera and I’m starting to wonder if a lot of these people wouldn’t be better off just using a lens. In order to be as pinholey as possible I used the .55mm pinhole despite it’s being much larger than optimal at 36mm from the image plane. Since this was going to be inside, I also didn’t want to make hours long exposures. This set-up at ultra-fast f64 would help accomplish this.
The Pencil of Nature by William Henry Fox Talbot. Facsimile edition by Da Capo Press, 1969. Originally published in 1844. During the exposure I chose to start reading with Plate VI, The Open Door, which contains a quote which has always inspired me:
We have sufficient authority in the Dutch school of art, for taking as representation scenes of daily and familiar ocurrence. A painter’s eye will often be arrested where ordinary people see nothing remarkable. A casual gleam of sunshine or a shadow thrown across his path, a time-withered oak, or a moss-covered stone may awaken a train of thoughts and feelings, and picturesque imaginings.
The scene is the dining room table and is very underexposed except for the book and the window. That may be appropriate since Talbot’s first negative was a silhouette of a window at Lacock Abbey.