Wow. Ok, where to begin… oh wait, I already have. So let me begin again. Wow.
When Plates to Pixels asked me to jury a show of lensless photography, I was excited. Excited is actually a bit of an understatement. I am quite wrapped up in lensless photography myself, having been carrying around a pinhole camera of one type or another for a good ten years now. As they say, time flies when you are having fun. Through the course of my own lensless adventures I have come to know many of the photographers who submitted work to this show. This was a large part of why I was so excited to jury the show. I already knew how good many of them were with their lensless photography.
I admit, I went in with high expectations. Nonetheless, those expectations were exceeded. Easily. One of the best things about lensless photography is how much it leaves to the imagination of the photographer and the sheer variety of work submitted was testimony to how well exercised the imaginations belonging to this group of photographers have obviously become. I was equal parts impressed and inspired.
I set about jurying the work with a couple criteria in mind, in case you are interested to know. Of course, I was looking for work that transcended the nature of device used to make it. Images where the camera used took a back seat to the photographer’s muse. I think whenever you jury a show you are looking for these types of images. But I was also looking for images that could only have been made in a lensless fashion. Images that took the various qualities of lensless photography and made them a key ingredient in the creation of the resulting image. I was looking for images that used the soft, abstract nature of primitive pinholes to best effect. Or images that played with the notion of the world over a long span of time. Or prints that redefined what we thought could be done with lumen printing, photograms and chemigrams. You know, the stuff that makes you stop what you are doing and say, “wow, I wish I had thought of that”. I think in this age, as so many of our cameras are getting more advanced and smarter than ever, luring us into allowing them to make more and more of the photographic decisions for us and as we spend more time reading lens performance reviews rather than thinking about the images we will make with those lenses, it is wise to take a moment to remind ourselves and our peers all the magic that can be wrought when you using a primitive camera without a lens, or in some cases, no cameras at all.
To this purpose, the body of work that these photographers have collectively gathered performs admirably. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
~Zeb Andrews, Photographer and Pinhole Extraordinaire, [ zebandrewsphotography.com ]
Zeb Andrews has been seriously dedicated to photography since 2002 when a Pentax K1000 made its way into his hands and almost did not escape again. Not long after that he bought his first “real” camera, a Nikon FM2. His family of cameras has grown much since that first Nikon over the years, but that FM2 is still going strong. Zeb loves to teach and share. He believes you make yourself better by making those around you better. When he is not working full time at Blue Moon Camera and Machine, he is generally spending his days off photographing and teaching photography classes and workshops.