handmade pinhole

7

JAMES GUERIN

MULTICELL GENESIS II PINHOLE CAMERA


Simultaneously, the camera shoots twenty images with twenty lenses in twenty compartments.

The camera is based on a simple shoe box, with a 5x5 grid made out of cardboard installed, creating 25 independent little cells. For lenses, he cut up a soda can, and then pierced the pieces with a needle, and sanded down any burrs. To keep the aperture as close as possible between each lens, he made far more than he needed, and then scanned and compared them so he could use the most similar ones possible. The camera has a sliding piece of cardboard as a simple shutter, and the shoebox lid serves to hold the photographic paper.

The added lenses (made of cheap plastic double convex) feature a focal length of 150mm, which are arranged in a grid, according to Guerin. “Due to the nested box design concertina style focusing is possible from a distance of 300mm (where 1:1 magnification is achieved) to approximately 550mm (overlapping of cells occurs).”

Guerin says that “accurate focusing is achieved with the aid of a simple ‘ground glass’  (perspex and scotch tape) and the shutter is a simple sliding plate.”

“I vary the aperture by placing custom ‘aperture plates’ that slide in front of the lenses. Of course the aperture changes depending on the focus draw, therefore I calculate my aperture for each shot by dividing the distance from lens to film by the diameter of my aperture disc (simple steel washers).” 

Camera-to-subject distance of 300mm yields 1:1 magnification, thus a “normal” picture, but longer distances produce rather interesting effects.

By Guerin’s calculation, the camera has a 100mm focal length, and an aperture of around f/333, shooting directly on 8x10 photographic paper. The images it records are slightly scattershot, so he transposes them digitally to make a slightly more coherent image.

When I saw the effects I could achieve with the pinhole multi-cell I decided to go and build a lensed version. I thought that the in focus and blurred areas would add another dimension and open up a world of original portraits,” says Guerin.