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Exposure
January 9, 2009 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Justin Quinnell takes pinhole photographs[pdf] with six month exposures, for example: Bristol from the Winter to the Summer solstice, if you like them, why not try it yourself?
posted by nfg (31 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
excellent.
posted by Capt Jingo at 8:01 AM on January 9, 2009


Forgot: via The Telegraph.
posted by nfg at 8:01 AM on January 9, 2009


Yeah, but does he use human skulls as cameras?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:04 AM on January 9, 2009


Scanning the negative directly is pretty clev. I might have to try this. Except I don't think I want a cylindrical version, so a flat cardboard box might be....wait, maybe a cylinder works better because of the flatter (relative to the moving sun) image plane?
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on January 9, 2009


Interesting. The breaks between/within the sun tracks are cloudy days/periods?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:32 AM on January 9, 2009


Oh, I so, so want to do this now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on January 9, 2009


Amazing. Great post.
posted by not_on_display at 8:34 AM on January 9, 2009


Wait a minute. Why isn't the paper completely overexposed by having 6 months worth of low light levels falling on it?
posted by DU at 8:36 AM on January 9, 2009


This seems like something that you could write a script for a a CHDK modified digital camera to do... but that would probably lose some of the lomovision analog aesthetic.
posted by anthill at 8:43 AM on January 9, 2009


Gorgeous. Michael Wesely does >1 year exposures (site in German). And then there's Alexey Titarenko.
posted by gwint at 8:55 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Except I don't think I want a cylindrical version, so a flat cardboard box might be....wait, maybe a cylinder works better because of the flatter (relative to the moving sun) image plane?

Sort of, DU. The ideal "focal plane" is actually a hemispherical surface, centered on the pinhole (at any radius, although diffraction effects determine a radius at which the spot size is minimal - that is, the resolution is highest). A cylinder approximates a sphere better than a flat surface does, and across a horizontal band near the middle, it's pretty close.

A pinhole camera is in focus at all points (as mentioned above), but magnification varies with radius. So, if you imaged a pencil or light post onto a flat photo sheet, the outer edges would be fatter than the center, although all of it would be in focus.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:58 AM on January 9, 2009


Great googly moogly this is awesome. Simple tools and some deeply amazing results. This is one of those "If only I could favorite this many times over" posts.
posted by hecho de la basura at 8:58 AM on January 9, 2009


Christ, what a pinhole!

Really, these are great.
posted by newmoistness at 8:59 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for your other question, DU: the exposure required either some calculations (average cloudy days * daylight exposure * # of days * approximate daylight hours as cosine curve), or some experimentation (which can be done in significantly less than a year, thankfully).
posted by IAmBroom at 9:01 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, these are awesome, overcoming even my deep and abiding loathing for Bristol. Must try it myself!
posted by marginaliana at 9:09 AM on January 9, 2009


Much better than the previous "painter of light" title holder.
posted by erpava at 9:14 AM on January 9, 2009


Those are cool; the six month exposure thing made me think of this.
posted by TedW at 9:33 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Question - does outside moisture/humidity have any adverse affects on the paper within? I'm guessing not, since all of his instructions are for putting the thing outdoors and not in a window. In any case, it looks well and truly idiot-proof.
posted by jquinby at 9:49 AM on January 9, 2009


The photos taken from inside his mouth are astoundingly cool. It's tough to find something "new" in art, but his perspective is new to me. I'm a fan.
posted by heyho at 10:10 AM on January 9, 2009


That was amazing.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:21 AM on January 9, 2009


The photos taken from inside his mouth are astoundingly cool. It's tough to find something "new" in art, but his perspective is new to me. I'm a fan.

The mouth-camera images are indeed very neat. Artist Ann Hamilton also creates pinhole images in this way:

"So I devised, over a number of years (it was sort of something that was in the background for a long time) a way of making pinhole cameras, which is very simple, but to make my mouth the aperture. I don't go into the darkroom and load the film in my mouth and then come out and do it, so it is actually still an object that's inserted into my mouth - but to have the orifice of the place where speech exits the body actually become the eye, and to just play with that. Then it was in the process of actually taking those pictures, seeing what they looked like, seeing in fact how the shape of the mouth is very much the same shape as the eye, and seeing myself become almost like the pupil within. The image of my head becomes almost like the pupil in the middle of the mouth, which is eye-shaped. Then, through another set of "what if" questions, I started thinking that it would be very interesting to turn and not face oneself, but to face another person. And so, with Chris here in the office, and Brenda, we started trying it, and in the act of actually doing it, it became very interesting to register this time of standing quite still, face to face with another person, and to make oneself vulnerable, in fact, to another person." (Art:21 interview)

More here.
posted by oulipian at 10:21 AM on January 9, 2009


This is kind of tricky to achieve, due to reciprocity failure. Kind of hard to bracket exposures around six months.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:01 AM on January 9, 2009


Why isn't the paper completely overexposed by having 6 months worth of low light levels falling on it?

If you can imagine light as water, think of how long it would take to fill a glass with the faucet turned down to an infinitesimally small size. Same kind of idea.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:04 AM on January 9, 2009


Yeah, but a pinhole is far from infinitesimally small. It says 2mm, which according to my calculations is more than 1/16". Inside of a soda can sitting in full sun, that's pretty bright.
posted by DU at 11:31 AM on January 9, 2009


This is awesome.
posted by Tacodog at 1:18 PM on January 9, 2009


Can some one explain how the "Clever bit" works? It seems that he just dumps the exposed, undeveloped paper in his scanner. Does this work? Have you tried this? Why does this work?
posted by bdc34 at 2:13 PM on January 9, 2009


Can some one explain how the "Clever bit" works? It seems that he just dumps the exposed, undeveloped paper in his scanner. Does this work? Have you tried this? Why does this work?

This puzzles me, too... note that this process also apparently produces colour images using black and white photo paper. Found a few more details here, here, and here, though I'm still amazed that this works and would love to hear a more technical explanation. From the third link: "It involves over exposing a paper negative to the extent of discoloring the paper as a negative. After you over expose the hell out of the paper you quickly scan the negative and invert it into a positive with photoshop. So the discoloration of the paper is tones of greyish/purplish/blueish, so the positive is in color. The negative will eventually completely discolor. You don't develop, fix or treat the negative to any sort of chemicals."
posted by oulipian at 2:58 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It kind of makes sense to me now. I suppose the idea is that the paper *is* completely overexposed, with much more light hitting it than would ever happen during normal use. If you've ever take a piece of photo paper out of its light-proof packaging in a brightly-lit room, you've probably seen it become discoloured - it initially turns that same bland, maroonish-taupeish colour that you see in the image on the left on this page. The "solargraphy" process allows parts of the paper (where the sun is focussed) to become completely overexposed in this way, while other parts aren't, and basically forms an image in the same way that a pinhole camera usually would, but with much more light involved. I would imagine that this means that the exposure times could be quite flexible. And the name "solarography" starts to make sense if you think of how this basically involves solarisation.

A few years ago I made a pinhole camera that looks like these, but using a Pringles can. The cylindrical surface results in an extremely wide angle of view, which I imagine works really well with these solargraphy images as you're basically trying to capture the entire arc of the sun as it crosses the sky.
posted by oulipian at 3:21 PM on January 9, 2009


Wow, that bristol shot is awesome. Love it.
posted by dabitch at 5:31 AM on January 10, 2009


A long-exposure shot of Bristol from the Winter to the Summer solstice? Of course it would only come out now! Does it prove she's really the mother of Trig!?

Why is everything ruined?
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 7:43 AM on January 16, 2009


It's been a while since I've logged in to Metafilter. I actually did a quick test solargraph last week, and will harvest another pinhole camera soon... the "clever bit" is that the image is literally "burned" on to the photo sensitive paper. Like with a sun print, you can see the result. The paper itself is completely overexposed, so if you were to try to develop and fix the print it would be destroyed. Since further exposure to light will cause the paper to fade to black over time it needs to be preserved with a scanner.
posted by rogue at 11:15 PM on January 17, 2009


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