Over time I’ve been fortunate to have been able to shoot with almost every type of film and digital camera imaginable. The funny thing is, out of all of them, the camera that to this day amazes me the most is a pinhole camera I made out of a shoe box. Best part? I used it to photograph a magazine story and (thank goodness) the editors loved the results.
All Photographs © Allan Weitz 2020
Pinhole cameras are as basic as it gets. A darkened box with a pinhole on one side and a piece of photosensitive paper or film on the opposite side of the pinhole. That’s it. Despite the simplicity of pinhole photography, if the pinhole is small, rounded, and parallel to the photosensitive paper, film, or imaging sensor, the image it produces is distortion-free, which is more than can be said for many of the pricier aspherical glass lenses we regularly praise.
There’s one other unique attribute that makes pinhole photography interesting, and that has to do with focus, which in the case of pinhole cameras is infinite. From millimeters in front of the pinhole to infinity, everything is in focus. Pinhole pictures are not sharp, especially when viewed up close, but that’s not the point—the pictures one gets from pinhole cameras are magical nonetheless. As for macro photography, when everything is in focus, close-ups are a walk in the park.