Cover image for Pinhole photography : rediscovering a historic technique
Pinhole photography : rediscovering a historic technique
Renner, Eric.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Focal Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 189 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR268 .R46 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Pinhole Photography is both an entertaining illustrated history and a practical handbook for this unique photographic technique. This revision of the successful how-to guide and illustrated history of pinhole photography has been expanded to include a new chapter on zone plates, as well as expanding the chapter on current work in pinhole photography. Many new illustrations and refinements throughout the text bring the book up to date. In this digital age, more and more photographers are rediscovering traditional artistic methods. Detailed, easy-to-read chapters explain how to create pinhole cameras and images and how to manipulate pinhole images using a variety of photographic techniques.

Author Notes

Eric Renner is founder and codirector of Pinhole Resource, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing information about pinhole photography.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Renner relates the development and recent artistic experience of pinhole photography using numerous quotations and examples from historical figures and current photographers. The pinhole phenomenon was recorded in China in 4000 BCE, but it was Alhazen in 1020 CE who first used the pinhole as an instrument. Today scientists use it for imaging, scatter hole X-ray, and space applications. The discussion about how to make a pinhole camera is enlightening. This technical instruction involves making the hole the right size and calculating f/stop, distance, and exposure using a light meter and charts. Included are techniques for using paper as the negative, making contact prints from the paper negative, using filters, and making a viewfinder. Most of the discussion centers on the flat film plane, but also included are curved, anamorphic (distorted), and moving film planes. The examples of pinhole photographs are excellent, and the variety of techniques used is inspiring, including black-and-white, litho, color, hand-tinted, Ilfochrome, and cyanotype and gum. Renner is founder and director of Pinhole Resource (a nonprofit organization to promote photography), lecturer, and co-editor of Pinhole Journal. Highly recommended. General; undergraduate through professional.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
1 Pinhole's History in Sciencep. 1
Holed Stonesp. 1
Early Pinhole Optics-Eclipses, Telling Time, and Optical Phenomenap. 1
Noon-marks in Italian Renaissance Cathedralsp. 8
The Pinhole in the Wave Theory of Lightp. 13
The Pinhole in Photographyp. 16
The Pinhole and the Eyep. 18
Twentieth-century Pinhole Imaging in High-energy Physicsp. 20
2 Pinhole's History in Artp. 27
Brunelleschi's Pinhole Perspective Devicep. 27
Alberti's First Diffraction Camerap. 30
Alberti's Intersectorp. 33
Leonardo da Vincip. 35
Anamorphosis-The Deception of the Eyep. 39
The First Pinhole Photographsp. 42
Pinhole's Popularity in Early "Pictorialism"p. 46
August Strindbergp. 49
Pinhole's Demise in the Early Twentieth Centuryp. 51
3 Pinhole's Revival in Art: The 1960s and 1970sp. 55
Rebirth-The Late 1960sp. 55
The 1970sp. 63
4 Pinhole's Revival in Art: The 1980sp. 73
The Peter Pan Principle, or "I Can Fly"p. 73
The Body as Camerap. 74
Camera and Photograph as Onep. 78
Cameras and Images in the 1980sp. 82
5 The How-to of Pinhole Photographyp. 109
Making a Simple Pinhole Camerap. 109
Loading the Pinhole Camerap. 115
Making a Photographp. 116
Additional Mistakesp. 119
Additional Possibilitiesp. 121
Optimal Pinhole Formulasp. 123
Making a Pinhole Turretp. 128
Pinhole Camera Geometriesp. 131
Exposure Timesp. 143
Additional Technical Informationp. 145
Additional Hints for Building Pinhole Camerasp. 149
6 Zone Plates, Slits, and Other Aperturesp. 151
Zone Platesp. 151
Zone Plate Cameras, Images, and Methodsp. 154
Pinhead Mirrors and Pinspeckp. 160
Slit Aperturesp. 162
Other Aperture Alterationsp. 164
7 Eye, Image, Camera, Mind: The 1990sp. 167
The Shifting Image of Reality?p. 167
1990s Imagesp. 169
List of Suppliersp. 183
Indexp. 185