Portfolio > Pinhole Pleasures

Independent Bookstores in the Los Angeles Area
2017 - Ongoing

There are three things that attract me to pinhole photography: the slowness and simplicity of the process, and the dreamlike illusory look of the images.

One cannot rifle off pinhole photographs at 28 frames per second. It's a slow process coupled with long exposures. This project has evolved slowly. As it has turned out, having tried out many types of subject matter that elude to slowness, my main focus came to be an endangered species: independent bookstores in the Los Angeles area.

In the spirit of simplicity I make contact prints from 4x5 black and white negatives in the traditional darkroom. One might argue that analog, let alone pinhole photography is a throwback to the past; that it looks like Pictorialism. However, today pinhole photography is less a way of copying the look of Impressionist painting and more a way of getting back to the bones of a technology for marking with light. In fact, it’s the opposite of Pictorialism in the sense that there is no direct obvious manipulation to the image so as to show the artist’s hand, thereby qualifying it as art. Rather, Pinhole Pleasures is a humble indulgence in very small pleasures.

Pinhole photography is out of focus, as if remembering a dream. Pinhole photography invites the illusory perception of things. The Buddha instructed his students not to cut themselves off from the world, but rather to see it as like a dream. The great Tibetan saint Lonchenpa wraps it up simply with these words:

“Like dreams, illusions, mirages, reflections,
Echoes, emanated apparition, just so are all phenomena.
Through giving up attachment to their true existence,
May beings come to the primordial state endowed
With all qualities of primal wisdom.”