Images from Nighttime at Blue Sky Gallery’s Viewing Drawers

I am happy to announce that ten images from my Nighttime Portfolio have been chosen for the Blue Sky Gallery’s Pacific NW Viewing Drawers.  The gallery is located in Portland, Oregon.  These images are a part of the 2016 juried selections for the Viewing Drawers program and will be available at the Gallery for a year.  Blue Sky, is a fantastic place, a must see in Portland for anyone who cares about photography.  I am honored to be in these hallowed halls.

My Nighttime Portfolio is made up mostly of images made in the Seattle neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park over the last five years or so.   I began the series because I felt a need to document the rebuilding of the Argo Bridge a few blocks from my studio.  As the old Bridge was demolished so was the quick walk and/or drive over to Georgetown from South Sodo.  I simply did not have time to photograph the Bridge consistently during the day and  I found that at night, the workers were gone, the train yards were still active and no one seemed to care if I was out there wandering around with a camera and a tripod.  It was a great setting in which to stumble about and shoot my heart out.   Many students accompanied me on these forays as well and I thank them for that.  Below are the ten images chosen for the Viewing Drawers.  They will be available from April 7th on.  Stop by if you are in Portland.  PS:  the featured image is titled, Lucille Crossing, 2013.

JNeuhauser_Nighttime_02South Park Bridge, Rebuilt, 2014


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_01Under the Argo Bridge, 2012


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_05Behind the Hanger Cafe,  2013


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_07Albro Street between 13th Avenue South and Stanley Street, 2015


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_03Off Airport Way, north of the Argo Bridge, 2015


15682630116_e5ed6726b1_b13th Avenue South. 2014


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_04Alley off Stanley Street, 2014


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_08Along Airport Way at South Vale Street, 2015


JNeuhauser_Nighttime_10Corner of Stanley Street and Albro Avenue, Looking North, 2015




Out There: An Update

In June of 2014, the artists at the Sunny Arms, the building where I live and work in Seattle, started a long term pinhole photography  project exposing cameras from our windows for 90 day periods. The only parameter was the cameras had to be pointing out at the view from our various studios.  The description of this first season can be found in an earlier blog post,  I am happy to report as an update,  that those images from Season 1,  as I like to call it,  have been chosen for a public art project to be displayed on a King County bus shelter. This link shows the 2015 winners and their images: .  Completion of the bus shelter is expected in the spring of 2016.

Meanwhile, the artists here at the Sunny Arms have continued to expose cameras  for two more seasons.  I did not know whether there would be any difference between the photographs from different seasons  and I was grateful for the commitment of the residents to tend their cameras. We have been gathering time and light, and I am happy to report that there indeed a big difference in the images.  Most of us have put cameras close to the same vantage point for each season.  All the paper and the cameras have been the same.

This fall, for the Sunny Arms Open Studios, I printed 20 diptychs of the first two seasons.  The third season is coming down now and I give you a few of the the paired images.  In March we will start the last of the four seasons:  the Spring Equinox to the Summer Solstice.  I love this project for it’s slowness and the quiet way the entire building is working together to make a document. Cameras fall down and get put back up;  tape slides down the windows, trucks rattle the tins loose.  The trees gain leaves and drop them, the sun trails move across the sky.  Two years will have passed when we are done with all four seasons instead of one year, which would have seemed rushed.  We skipped seasons for a number of reasons:  the cameras did not come down all at once and I thought it was important that everyone see the image they made before they made the next one.  It will be interesting to see if this delay made a difference.

Here are a few preliminary results:

diptych north from 1c

Above:  Looking north from the Snoqualmie Street first floor entrance, Fall to Winter.  Right: Winter to Spring, same view.  Both images made by Janet Neuhauser


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Above:  From the third floor (left), looking northeast, Winter to Spring.  From the fifth floor,(right), looking northeast, Spring to Summer.  These were made by Bang Jing Sun (left) and Janel Kolby (right).


1stfloorentrance Janet Neuhauser

Above:  First floor main entrance, left  Summer to Fall, Right:  Winter to Spring.  Both images made by Janet Neuhauser


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Above:  This one from Kevin Wilson and Laurie LeClair, first floor looking east.  Left, Winter to Spring. Right:  Fall to Winter.


There are plenty of others.  I am just now in the process of sorting them out.  We will begin the final season this Spring.  Then after another 90 days, I will report back.

Featured image is from the first floor main entrance with a two hole pinhole camera, Fall to Winter.

Thoughts on Lensless Photography

It’s been two years since the Pinhole Project began and well over 2000 people have made an amazing array of long exposure images. Very,  very inspiring.  I intend to do a blog post on some of the images soon.   Bear with me while I update the archive and  create a website just for the Archive in 2016.   In the meantime, I have been shooting with several pinhole cameras/devices  recording the image on film or digitally.  The images here represent new work with a few of these cameras. Last summer I shot with the 4 x 5 pinhole, my old buddy, onto  color negative film while on the Northern California coast.  These images are different than the ones I made  two years ago there with the same camera.  They frighten me a bit:  a cross between faded Kodachrome postcards of my youth and an off-beat surrealist future where the world is unpopulated and lonely. The image below, Salt Point South, is a ten minute exposure during  the golden hour, crashing waves flattened out and all the world with a magenta cast .  I love standing by the camera during the exposure, knowing I won’t forget the smell of wind and the glorious light.  This image is of course not “reality.”  It is 20 minutes of time compressed onto a sheet of film exposed though a tiny little hole punched in metal on to sheet film.  I did not even get to see it for almost a month.



The image above, Usal Beach,  was made  on a close damp evening, another long exposure, around fifteen minutes. There were a lot of people around that  beach, walking through, unrecorded.  The place had a kind of creepy air to it, four miles down a bumpy dirt road, once a “doghole” where loggers lived and worked a hundred years ago, creating a company town which has totally disappeared.  Now the place is run down, full of ghosts and garbage, discarded bullet casings and strange cries in the night.

This past year I have also been making images with several homemade  camera obscura boxes that project an image through a pinhole into the back side of the box.  A hole drilled  beneath the pinhole holds the lens for DSLR.   It is a wonderful way to record the pinhole image without film. Inspired by one of my heros, Abelard Morell and his camera obscura room photographs done around the world, I decided to try my own hand at homemade portable obscura boxes.  I am interested in the way the images feel contained yet expansive at the same time.  And I like that while I am making these images I can stand in front of the camera and create a self portrait of sorts.  Here is diptych from my old haunt, the Argo Trainyard, just a few blocks from my house.  This image was made from two images taken side by side, both long exposures on a windy afternoon and I was able to stand in for the first exposure. For the second, I had to shield the box from the wind.

train yards with camera obscura box

Another image made with a similar box/contraption, taken outside my front door, with my neighbor standing and chatting during the five exposure.


Both of the above images were inspired in part  by a project that I almost got to do but in the end did not–I was hoping to make an old grain silo into a camera obscura.  These boxes started as models for that project and evolved into life forms of their own.  I do have a self portrait from that silo experience;  the pinhole in the silo projected the image of me onto the wall opposite as my DSLR teetered on an upturned bucket inside recording  the projected  image.


There are many more experiments.  I give you a few of my favorites.  Why do I like these images better than a tack sharp image made on a tripod with a DSLR or a film camera?  What do these images have that those other images do not?  I don’t know the  answers yet, but I do know that I like to record the passage of time with long exposures —  more than a minute and less than oh say 90 days. I  like the fact that I  have to keep the camera (DSLR) and the camera obscura box together both on separate tripods and move them around together as one big contraption. With the large format pinhole and film I like how the time exposures change reality. These cameras  make  photography difficult and rewarding — wonderfully so in a world where photography has become so very rote and predictable.   Lensless photography is simple but not easy, modern yet historical, unpredictable and thrilling.


Note:  The featured image was taken with a great big old cardboard obscura box, with the DSLR.  An early experiment, the box had a light leak on the corner which created a lovely red line.  And there was some junk inside the box that could have been taken out but wasn’t.  Heres to the happy accident.

For Dad and His Love of Photography

My father passed away a month ago at the age of 95.  An avid amateur photographer, he lived through so many changes with photography and the cameras he owned, from an old Kodak box camera  to a small compact digital he used for the last years of his life.  He loved to take photographs and to pose for them.  One of my earliest memories is from a summer in the early 1960’s when he bought a Polaroid camera.  It was something of a miracle.  I loved its brown leather case and the way the Polaroid print peeled apart from the negative and smell of whole thing. Dad loved gadgets and he loved cameras of all types.  He used  an old Argus Rangefinder for years shooting slides long past the time that it was considered “modern.”  He recorded our family trips and the everyday aspects of our lives.  When I decided to become a photographer in the late 1970’s he could not have been happier.  I bought an 8 x 10 inch view camera (outdated then) and photographed him with it. He was a  great subject, patient while posing (although not patient in other aspects of his life).  It must have reminded him of his childhood, when his mother, also an avid amateur photographer, posed him for portraits with her big 6 x 7 inch box camera.

When Dad turned ninety, I produced  a book of photographs of his life for his birthday celebration.  It begins with photographs of him as a very young child growing up on the farm in South Dakota.  He photographed during WW II with his Army unit as they traipsed across France after the invasion, many of which are included in the book.  As a child, I would sit on his lap looking at the albums he had made during that time-gruesome photographs of dead horses and bombed buildings and happier ones of  his friends and his adopted dog. He never talked about that experience, leaving the photographs to speak for themselves.  At the end of his life, I sat with him again and turned the pages of his birthday book.  Though he could no longer talk very well, he still  loved to look at the photographs.  And again, no words were necessary, because the photographs really do speak for themselves. I post here, some of the great moments from the life of Dad.  Some are taken by his mother, some by him, some by me or other unknown photographers.  His was a life well lived and well recorded. Thanks Dad, for giving me the love of photography.

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Janet Neuhauser012

I am happy to announce the retrieval of two long exposure pinhole cameras.  One was left out on a windy high place in the Olympic National Forest (for about eight months) and was  intact albeit face down on the ground when found.   The other, retrieved from under a bridge on the Lost Coast of Northern California, was covered with  spider webs.  The former was stapled and nailed and taped onto  a stump just at the tree line in a place that is called Top of the World by the locals.  That  place appears to be a hangout, but the pinhole camera did not stick out among damaged skeet targets, gun casings and broken beer bottles. Early on in the exposure, the camera must have fallen, then fallen again.  Someone put it back up at least three times.    The incredible view was not  recorded, just a crazy mishmash of sun trails.



Then last summer on a trip to the Lost Coast of California, another camera out for just over  two years was retrieved. Under an old steel bridge that covered an obscure little river, it survived without falling down or getting wet.   Wedged underneath the steel structure, pointing straight down,  this camera did not record sun trails but orange squiggly lines, perhaps kids with flashlights under the bridge,  who knows what happened.  Driving there, I was pretty certain the camera could not have survived for such a long time.  But it did and that  retrieval is one I will never forget.

I love so much about both of these images.  The simplicity of a piece of black and white enlarging paper patiently gathering light over time and then somehow showing color when scanned. The fact that one forgets about the little boxes, time goes forward and then there they are still recording.   These  little breath mint can pinhole cameras are a  tenacious bunch.   I am happy to share their images with you.


An Aside:  the featured image was made en route to retrieve the two year camera in Northern California.  A two-hole camera was placed in the back window of the pick-up truck, the home away from home.  The exposure was about two weeks, the time it took to go and get the camera, make some more pinholes, put  some more cameras out  and drive home.  This image feels like a big grin to me, which pretty much sums up how I feel about these images.

Learning to See the Old Way

Since I am both a teacher of photography  and a photographer  who is still learning to see, I’ve been thinking about film and digital and how learning to see with each method is so different.  Now some people believe that one cannot be taught how to see, that the budding photographer has an eye or not and this is true. But understanding how the eye follows a path to an image, tells the body to frame the image and click the shutter at that decisive moment, teaches awareness of how a lasting image is made.  And everyone can improve.  The contact sheet, a study in how the eye does this, exists in film but not in digital.  Of course one can make a sheet in digital but the image has already been seen on at least two screens.  With film, the photographer takes a roll, carries the images around in their  imagination where is simmers until it is processed and seen on  the sheet.  This difference: not seeing the image immediately, ia of course what sets film apart.

If I loved the image when shooting film, it stayed in my head.  Sometimes it grew, sometimes diminished. But  I could not wait to see the negatives  and be surprised;   I am not sure that element of surprise exists in digital.  Since there is no waiting period, instant gratification leads to instant judgement which hinders seeing.  It also leads to a very off hand kind of attitude that everything can be fixed in post processing  and the photographer does not have to make a great big effort to get it right in camera. As if post-processing  (in both  film and digital) is equal to making the image!   In the darkroom, one is pretty limited in changing composition. But in digital, post processing can change backgrounds, change all things, and the viewer does not know what was real and what was not.  While real has never been an important part of any photograph, I want to understand how I see and I do that better with film and a contact sheet.   A great image lasts forever, a good one at least a lifetime. So what if it takes a few weeks to actually see the image.

I am thrilled that film is making a comeback before it (probably) dies completely.  Students I know are excited to shoot film.  Most never have experienced it.  Many ask me how they know the image is going to come out.  Of course they can’t know that for sure, but they can help the process along by being very sure of their technical abilities.  Having shot a roll of film or two, most students are better digital photographers.  Funny how that happens.

The featured image for this post is an image I made recently on film in a pinhole camera.  Exposed for four nights in a row, I did not move the camera just opened  the shutter at night and closed it in the morning before it got light outside.  At some point my old tripod slipped a bit.  It rained three out of the four nights but my little plastic bag cover over the camera actually kept the camera dry.  The exposure was round 32 hours. Lots of time for happy accidents.   I had to send the film to Tucson to be developed.  It was about 3 weeks before it arrived back in the US mail.  I did not know if this idea would work.  It did!  And I am thrilled that I have another way to make a film image in today’s digital world. And that I can expose those night photographs long enough in a pinhole camera with an fstop of 512.

The Trees!

I went car  camping in the high country east and west of the mountains several times last summer.  The National Forests are full of unused logging roads all open to the public.   It’s very rare to see another car or any people anywhere.    We drove  up and up through the forests.  The trees!  They were everywhere, all shapes and sizes.   I tried to photograph them,  tiny saplings to towering old growth.  How to make an image worthy of them intrigues  me now.   I was driven  around (such luxury) with  lots of different types of cameras, both film and digital and of course pinhole.  I  got to shoot all day  until it got  dark, and then got to make all night long exposures.  It is dark up there!  And empty.  And quiet.  And so close to the I-5 corridor that from just about everywhere west of the mountains  you can see the light glow of the cities from Tacoma to Vancouver. I am beginning to look at these photographs now and post the early edits here.  I won’t name the camera with which I made each image.  I will let you try and figure that out.

The trees call to me still, as I sit in my studio, rain and wind outside, and  think about those forests:  logged and re-logged,  scarred with roads and slides and gullies and yet beautiful, teeming with life.  A surprising number of old growth exists untouched, tucked way into the dark reaches of the forest.   I am  lucky that the friend who drove me  knew which  logging roads looked  promising and where to find the old trees.  And he knew their names and ages and  is as in awe of them as I am.

On the east side of the mountains there is less light from urban areas glowing in the night sky.  After dark settles in, the trees towered above us, shadowy and huge, bigger at night than during the day.  The stars slid slowly across the sky.  I wanted to stay up all night but of course, sleep came quickly and deep in that silence.  So here are the first few edits.  I tend to shoot and then put the work away for a few months.  It needs to settle into  my unconscious and I wait for the  images to surface and call me to bring them to life.  I have just begun to photograph the trees.  I am hoping to go back up to the forests  this winter, maybe shoot at night with snow on the ground.  Let the snow reflect the silence and illuminate the trees.

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PCNW Presents: 10 Photographers

I am honored to be chosen as part of the Seattle’s Photographic Center Northwest, PCNW Presents program.  They have selected ten photographers to represent for the next two years and will be showing the work in the gallery where people can  buy it.   This is a big first for me, to have gallery representation in my hometown,  and I am humbled and grateful.  And I am  in very good company with the likes of Jenny Riffle, ( and Glenn Rudolph (, both amazing  NW photographers.  Others include Sylvia Plachy, a photographer I have admired since the 1980’s.    For more detailed information on all the  photographers, go to  Over the next few months the two photographs below  will be  hanging in the gallery.  Stop by and take a look and also visit the show in the main gallery,   Well Read:  Visual Explorations of the Book.   It will make you think differently about books in general.

I have taught at PCNW for the last seven years and have always said that it is the heart and soul of photography in Northwest. I love teaching my ten week class at night:  an  introduction  to the DSLR and “serious” digital photography.  I think there is still room in the Monday night class that starts in January.   And I will post whenever the PCNW Presents photographers have work on the wall.  Stay tuned.

Featured image for this post  Georgetown Backyards from the Albro Bridge, 2014  One of my newest night photographs, captured with a DSLR this year.

The two images below while both night photographs were each captured differently.  The top image, The Road to Grant’s 50th, is a digital capture made with  a DSLR.  The image below is made on color negative film, exposed in a pinhole camera.  Despite the differences in capture, they have many  similarities that may or may not come through on the computer screen.  All the more reason to go to the gallery!


Title: The Road to Grant’s 50th, 2012
Print Size: 22” x 15” Frame Size: 22” x 28”
Print Type: Digital Capture Printed on Crane’s Portfolio Rag Paper with Archival Inks


Due West:  Lost Coast of California

Title: Due West: Lost Coast, California, 2013
Print Size: 22” x 15” Frame Size: 22” x 28”
Print Type: C-41 color negative film exposed in a 4 x 5 inch pinhole camera;  Negative scanned and printed on Crane’s Portfolio Rag Paper with Archival Ink

Out There: Long Exposure Pinhole Photography from the Sunny Arms

Right around the Solstice last summer, I asked everyone in the building where I live and work to expose a pinhole camera from their windows for ninety days for the Pinhole Project. The idea was to expose all the cameras from each studio in the building, leaving the cameras up from the Solstice to the Equinox. The cameras recorded amazing trails of the sun all summer and into the fall. The views are recognizable, at least for those of us who are here every day and tended the cameras through the heat of last summer. The colors are mysterious and varied.  I thank my colleagues, friends, fellow artists, neighbors all who participated. I did not know, until we did this, how beautiful our neighborhood actually is or much the sun shines on us or how the freeway is just a little toy off in the distance. I also did not know you can see the light of the sun trails to north and the south as well as east and west.

The building where I live and work is an artist’s coop.  We own the building together, 20 units in all and I have always loved the views, from all sides of the building. I wanted to capture them with the long exposure pinhole cameras, hoping this was a good idea, but during the ninety days,   I worried that the images might come out all the same. the views, the sun trails, the colors and the group as a whole would be boring.    Scanning completely proved me wrong.  The thirty images which I have uploaded here are titled with the name/unit number  of the pinhole photographer.   The grid, as it appears below, echoes how the printed images were hung in my studio last weekend.    Below the grid are all the images which can be viewed individually.  The building  sits up against I-5 in the SoDo area of Seattle right  before the Spokane Street interchange.  The front of the building faces due west, the back east, a few units have south windows, and all the units that face north have windows in that direction.  The featured image shows a pinhole image of the building that I made last spring. It is a 30 day exposure and shows the building’s west side.  You can see the sun trails from the east above the building and the sun trails from the west reflected in the front windows.

The 30 images were featured at the Open Studios at out building this past  November 15th.   They are still up on my studio wall and will be up until Christmas time.  Another opening will happen early in December.  Stay tuned for dates and times and thanks for your continued support of the Pinhole Project.



 WendyThonNorth1A copy BulloffRobinson1West5D WendyThonEast2WithBars copy WendyThonEast1A copy TanyaClarkEast1A copy TanyaClark2East1A copy MacInnisBell3West3C copy MacInnisBell2NorthWest3C copy MacInnisBell1NW3C copy LynnThompsonNorth5c copy LynnThompsonEast5c copy KevinWilsonEast1B copy JudithLaScolaWest1D copy JohnathanStevensEast1E copy JohnathanStevens1VerticalEast JanetNeuhauserSW1C JanetNeuhauserNW1C copy JanetNeuhauserAboveNorthEntrance copy JanelKolbyWest5A copy JamesChengWest5A copy Hess&PfeiffleEas2B copy EricRiedelSouth5B copy CollenHaywardWest4D copy CharlieWiliiamsWest4A CharlieWiliiamsWest4A copy CappyThompson3West4A copy CappyThompson2West4A copy CappyThompson1West4A copy BulloffRobinson3West5D copy BulloffRobinson2West5D copy

Ode to a Contact Sheet


Quite a few years ago Jess and I took a roll of film of each other, standing in the same place with the old twin lens reflex I was using at the time.   I found this contact sheet recently and pinned it to the wall.  The two rolls of film, overlaid as shot are  full of surprises and laughs, scary in an oddly shocking way.  All and more than we intended at the time. I wonder why I put the sheet deep in a box and did not look at it for years.  It is a  beautiful contact sheet printed on some old (even at the time) single weight glossy silver gelatin paper.   I now see this  contact sheet as the piece for this shoot,  not individual frames. The overlaid negatives merged because we shot standing in the exact same place.  It is odd because I remember the day, the weather but I do not remember the place.   It was no doubt the yard, the scary out of doors where we lived in the woods with its glowing light, trees on all edges, an old cabin in a small clearing.

This post is an ode to these two rolls of film that merged and celebrate the happy accident, the unknowing intent, the down right luck involved in  making art .  Not all contact sheets are works of art in themselves.  But all contact sheets teach us about how we see when we make photographs.  Can looking at work in this linear fashion be done effectively with contact sheets made from digital images?  I ask my digital students to make  contact sheets  from  their top twenty images from an assignment.  They love looking at the contact sheets but it is a completely different way of editing/looking  than making a sheet from a roll of film.  What are the effects on how photographers are learning to see?  I don’t know the answer to this.  If anyone does, please let me know.

April Surgent’s Pinholes

April Surgent is a glass artist who went to Antarctica on an artist grant with 20 pinhole cameras.  She worked there for several weeks, making many creative and unusual pinhole photographs using cameras that had two or more pinholes.  Tonight, a show including these images opens at Traver Gallery in Seattle.  She made several of the images into engravings and the result is beautiful.  I just uploaded 59 of her original pinhole images to the Pinhole Archive.  Take a look at the images in the Pinhole  archive ( and then stop at Traver Gallery( and see the show.  She has taken the Pinhole Project to new heights.

In honor of G. Lucas Crane on his Wedding Day

G. Lucas Crane is all grown up.  He is the  son of my dear friends who have been there for me all the way from grade school.  Beyond grown up,  Lucas is in his  thirties:  a musician, performer, artist and all around genius.  And he got married just  this past August.   I have been trying to think of a very special something for him and the lucky woman, Angie. They are just right for each and I am so happy for them.   She is a wonderful addition to the Crane family and I look forward to getting to know her.

Looking through the boxes of prints recently, I realized how many photographs I have made of Lucas over the years.  All have stories.  He has been a great friend, model, subject.  We had lots of fun when he was a cute little kid, with curly blonde hair,  drawing like a madman on scraps of paper. I consider it one of the lucky things in my life:  to watch him grow up!   The feature image of this post is one of him on a rainy day in April in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the 1980’s.  He is about six  I think.   This image  hangs in a 911 Center as part of a  1% for the Arts grant I received years ago.   It is also included in  the Kid Pictures portfolio.

In August, I made a pinhole color negative of the Lucas and his bride,  Angie, on the big day and I made another one of them actually getting married.  It was a beautiful wedding in  upstate New York.  I exposed the image of the ceremony for twenty-five minutes, the entire length of the rite.  It is an image about memory and movement and I hope they love it.  I love  the way they moved through out that time in the beautiful grove of trees with flower petals scattered about.    The image of the two of them afterwards is about a two minute exposure. They held still for the exposure, so excited and so relaxed.  Thanks Lucas and Angie.  Here’s to a long and loving relationship!

To find out more about Lucas, go to this page which has a short bio, or google him and listen to some of his music.  He played with the band Woods for a number of years and continues to grow and work as a musician, performer, and all around amazing guy.