Optical Illusions

Photography week|October 10, 2019

Optical Illusions
Use low-tech camera attachments to create black-and-white images with an arty feel

Since the digital revolution took the photographic world by storm, we’ve become obsessed with image quality. More megapixels, sharper lenses, heavier tripods – it’s all become a little bit ridiculous, and is in danger of overshadowing what photography should be about – creating meaningful images. Sharpness is important, obviously, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, and should never be given priority over mood, atmosphere and character.

One way to explore photography at its earliest roots is by creating pinhole images. Instead of using a conventional lens, you drill a hole in a body cap and fit this to your camera body, then place a metal disc with a tiny pinhole in it over the larger hole. The pinhole acts as both the lens and the aperture, and it produces images that have a characteristic softness.

Digital pinhole photography suits a range of subjects, from landscapes and architecture to portraits and still life. It’s also much easier than using an analogue pinhole camera, as you can see what you’re doing using live view, which makes composition much easier; you can also assess your images immediately, and make any changes to help improve the final result.

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October 10, 2019