Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák
Pinhole / Multi-pinhole Photographs
series of experimental images based on (multi-)pinhole photography, 1990-94

To understand the broader context of this work, please read my essay on Works Concerning Images of Light.

Pinhole Photograph, 1991

In 1990 I took my first pinhole camera photographs. It remained a major concern for my work during the first half of the 1990s, so that besides a number of sequences, I also used pinhole camera photographs in installations, and even in interactive works.

Pinhole Photograph, 1990

As opposed to cameras equipped with light-concentrating optical lenses, a characteristic feature of pinhole camera photography is that it requires a longer exposure time. This longer time, however, does not necessarily mean more than a few seconds or minutes. With my shots, however, I tried to spend an extremely long time taking the photo, since I was interested in the very effect it has resulted. In my pictures, made during the early 1990s, as well as in those from 2007, I usually employed natural light and low-speed film material, or the least aperture possible to extend the time of exposure. In addition to the variations in the angle of light, this process involved the changes in the intensity of light in the wake of the sun’s movement: it was the strongest at midday and the weakest at dawn/twilight, but the changes of the weather, with the passing of clouds, also had their incalculable impact on the process of image making.

double pinhole image on folded negative, c-print, 70x50cm, 1992

From 1992, I started to photograph on films folded into various geometric forms, applying several objectives (holes) simultaneously. Since I simply cut and folded orthochromatic celluloid sheet films into pinhole cameras that I had fabricated from tea cans, my clumsy acts brought about several mechanical damages, traces of pasting, and film tearing, but I also regarded these as image generating constituents, thus I did not try to disguise the “tricks of the trade” with technical perfectionism.

double pinhole image on folded negative, c-print, 70x50cm, 1992

It was in 1994 that I first exhibited a triptych that depicted the full 360-degree surrounding of the camera on films folded into conical forms or into two adjoining cylinders through two, or sometimes through four, lenses. I exposed the original negatives of the three images in 1992–93, but owing to technical difficulties, the final C-print version was only made in 1994.

multi(4) pinhole image on folded negative, c-print, 70x50cm, 1992