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One of the things I like about pinhole photography is that it does naturally what lens photography does not. One of those is infinite depth of field – there is no single plane of focus as is the case with the use of a lens. The other is the use of time – although lens photography almost always employs the capture of a portion of a second, lensless photography almost never captures a scene in less than a second.

To avoid a holy war of arguments about the frame rate of the human eye, I will jump to an experiment I performed many years ago where I photographed a waterfall with many varying shutter speeds. The print that appeared closest to what I actually saw was shot at about 1/100th of a second, so that is where I believe our perception generally lies. When using a camera with automatic settings this is a typical shutter speed. Lensless photography naturally takes us well outside of that range and allows us to capture the fourth dimension in a manner outside of our perception.

When using pinhole photography for photographing on the street I am less interested in the individual per se and more interested in that person’s space within time, so I like to use a slow film that ensures a long shutter speed (in this case I was using PanF+ at EI50, with a shutter speed of about 20 seconds). TheĀ resultĀ are things that we look at but not see because we are stuck within our four perceptible dimensions. Pinhole photography can release us from this restriction, celebrating what we disparagingly refer to as motion blur.

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