The Solstices and the Pinhole

The two most important days of the year to me are the winter and summer solstices. Both of them a beginning and an end.  Last December, on the Winter Solstice, I placed two pinhole cameras outside  my front door, one looking west, one to the south.  I had seen the results of many long exposure pinhole images but had never made one myself, never experienced the process of exposing/tending a camera  over a six month period.  When a friend called last night and told me the moment of the solstice had just happened, that the  earth had turned, I took the cameras down and scanned the negatives  into the computer.  They looked  dark and fogged, the tracks of the sun black arcs across the sky.  Post processing, and the magic invert button brought the images to life.   Exposures that  had captured six months of light, the daily life that can’t be seen, were now a surreal display of light and color, a record of a tumultuous time, existing only on the screen, the paper negative ruined by the scanner’s light.  Will the next six months look the same?  I am putting up two more cameras tomorrow in the same place. I will wait six months and then see.  And once again I am grateful for  the pinhole camera, the glorious God of the Image, simple and profound, marking the Solstices, capturing time.

I don’t post work in progress but am working on the two solstices images, to find a way to print them, to give them the respect they deserve.  I will post them soon. But in the meantime, the featured image for this post is a six month exposure by Amelia Easterbrook, a student of photography.  It is the perfect long exposure, a fantasy world, full of light and beauty.  It will soon be posted in the Pinhole Archive.  But in the meantime, be inspired, place your cameras, be patient, let the light form an image over time.  See you in six months.


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