Through the pinhole

Curator/InterviewerAspa Tz | PhotographerAdrian Crawley

Adrian: So I shoot predominantly with pinhole cameras. I picked up this habit when I was assisting with a workshop at the Reykjavik photography museum. We made pinhole cameras out of beer cans then ran around the city shooting various things, coming back to the lab to develop our pictures.

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I can’t quite remember how I stayed on this course but I do remember the simplicity of it all appealing to me. Breaking down everything that had come before in regards to a camera, all the functions and settings never touched cast aside and working with the absolute basics of what a camera could be. The simple act of exposing light sensitive material for a duration of time.

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I’ve always been a fan of analogue photography over digital, the tactical nature of it compared to coloured pixels. But even with film SLR cameras and lomography products I’ve felt limited by their choices in design.

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Over the years I have continually developed my own pinhole cameras, building new ones and upgrading from shooting single sheets of photographic paper inside of empty tea boxes, to my now current camera: a wooden box that can house 120mm film.

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I have always found myself being drawn to photographing scenes of wilderness and mountainscapes; in fact it is probably one of the key reasons as to how I’ve found myself living in Iceland. My continued development regarding pinhole photography has fed from this passion in taking inspiration from the unique creation and environmental factors that shape these landscapes.

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In building your own camera you control how it is going to capture light. The unpredictable nature of the medium itself, how you fit the film in the camera, how you design every aspect of how the light travels into a light proof container and reaches the film. This gives the images produced their own sense of life and character from being born from circumstances not entirely in their control, creating a unique portrait of that time.

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Photography as I see it has the inherent ability to flatten our entire lives, existences, into timeless images of tone, shadows and highlights. In doing so a new reality is born, the one present in the image.

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What stands between these two realities is the technology you use to create this said new reality, your choice in camera. How you use it to interact with the world around you plays into these ideas of creation. How you look to manipulate, distort or perhaps highlight aspects of our world for your new one.

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Adrian Crawley is an experimental photographer and Fine Arts major currently based in Reykjavik, Iceland. He spends his time photographing landscapes with a biscuit tin and offering people the best cinnamon rolls and pastries in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Check out more of Adrian’s amazing work here. And the wonderful photography of our very own curator, Aspa Tz, here.

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