Task 2.

Using your pinhole cameras, task 2 requires you to investigate photographically, the personality of an open place/space when it is devoid of human presence. You will have little control of the light with your hand-made (pin hole) camera so you will have to test and learn how it interprets the world. As the pinhole camera is relatively rudimentary equipment, (unless you make a more sophisticated version) this task will help you to achieve the learning outcome of appropriate pre-visualisation skills. Through your tests, you will learn to understand how your vision is transformed into an image and a permanent negative can be created. Reflect on the personality of place/space you are representing (it may be a public space where people convene or a more private space) and how it is momentarily transformed when it is populated by certain individuals or groups of people and consider how you can document this ‘non’ space (Auge 95).

On Tuesday 16th April, I first began experimenting with my pinhole camera. I had explored the aspects of pinhole photography before beginning the module however this was my first chance at using my own camera and creating my own images. It was exciting to wonder what would be produced, and interesting to work out what exposure was suitable. Everyone’s camera was different, with different exposures that suited them. The first print I came out with I was quite pleased with, and felt fairly confident that I could produce some good images when Task 2 was introduced.

Reading through the brief, I was able to pick out the main points of the task. ‘Open place/space’ and ‘devoid of human presence’ are what stood out as the main focus. I decided to research a few photographers who work with empty spaces.

Russell Millner


One of Russell Millner’s photo collects “Landscapes and scenery from around the world”, contains a series of brilliant images where he has photographed in many locations such as South Africa and the Arctic. His images represent open spaces well as some images have such a wide scope such as the deserts he has shot. They are also devoid of human presence which the images unique and special as they are such spectacular places, often left untouched. I really like some of his shots, particularly ‘Kenya Scenery’ where he has captured some beautiful sunsets. I think that the images being void of human presence really captures the essence of what stunning shots they are, his work captures that particular place and all its detail.




Kasia Nienartowicz


Kasia Nienartowicz has created an album called ‘Empty Spaces’ featuring some really creative shots. The images are in black and white, creating some brilliant contrasts and a great range of different tones especially in the images that she has shot at night where there are some bright lights in the image. I also think this makes the images quite mysterious and eerie which demonstrates how the areas are devoid of human presence really well because this would create an uncomfortable atmosphere. Another aspect which I like about the images is locations that have been shot would usually be filled with people, making them more powerful as they are empty.

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Richard Stultz


Richard Stultz has an album ‘Empty Spaces’ – his images appear quite simple however they are aesthetically pleasing. The composition of his images make them into something interesting as he takes the focus of his image and presents it in a way which makes us want to explore. With the absence of any human presence, this causes us to focus more on what is going on in the image and what is there, meaning great attention to detail. Each image is quite different and unique, some featuring a great amount of colour whereas some not. What I like about these images is they all work with light quite interestingly, whether it be heavy or soft shadows or the illumination of certain areas. He uses light in his composition in order to create some good images.




Following my research, it was clear that there are so many different places and different ways which you can approach empty spaces, and how you can portray a place devoid of human presence. Certain lighting and composition can create different atmospheres – Rusell Millner’s images were unique and special, whilst Kasia Nienartowicz’s were quite eerie and Richard Stultz’s appear quite lonely. Rather than trying to achieve a certain feeling or emotion in my images, I decided to try and focus on the different locations and scenery I could use to create interesting prints. The area in which I photographed was various places around Coventry – mostly street views as Coventry s is a busy area with a constant buzz throughout the day therefore capturing some images with no human presence, similar to Kasia Nienartowicz’s approach, would work best – seeing a busy place empty.



After a number of attempts, I produced two final positives from two negatives.

Negative 1.


Test strip 1. 16 seconds – 12 seconds – 8 seconds – 4 seconds exposure.

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Final print 1. 15 seconds exposure.


I’m quite pleased with the appearance of this print because there is a really interesting tonal range with strong contrasts of light and dark, showing the power of the light. There are both buildings and roads present in this image, which shows it would be a hive of activity yet there is no evidence of human presence therefore fitting the brief. The paths are empty and the image has a slight feel of loneliness. It could be argued that the presence of the car would make the photo not fit the brief so well because it indicates human presence however it could also indicate how the area is usually busy and full of people, and the car has been abandoned therefore making the image eerie. A slight problem with this image was a slight scratch on the print which could have been caused by the use of tongs – it is important for me to be very careful with them in future to prevent this from happening.

Negative 2.


Test strip 2. 28 seconds – 21 seconds – 14 seconds – 7 seconds exposure.


Final print 2. 35 seconds exposure.


I find this print quite interesting and unique. By looking at the negative, it is clear that when I exposed the paper it was a very bright day therefore alot of the negative in darkness. Therefore it took a couple of test strips in order to get an idea of what sort of exposure I would need to make it a positive as I didn’t realise it would need so much light at first. In this image, I have captured Coventry Cathedral. Knowing that it is a busy place attracting many tourists, I felt this would be a good place to get a shot of when empty. The cathedral adds really interesting shape and detail, acting as the background in the image. In front of this there are various trees and other items of decoration showing its an attractive place to be. What I do like in this photo is how there are people featured in it, however the way that the final print was exposed to light they appear very ghost like – half the image looks real in the background whereas the foreground appears very light and translucent, giving an eerie feel. With their ghost like appearance, it adds more to the essential aspect of an empty space because it does not appear as if they are really there. I do quite like this print, however I feel there are definite improvements to be made. The print is not horizontal and there was also another problem with a scratch on the negative, also possibly caused by tongs.

I enjoyed this task as it gave me chance to work more with my pinhole camera. I find it fascinating how something so simple can produce an image, showing the power light can have. Through this task I was able to gain more dark room experience, including for the first time making negatives into prints. However, I still room for improvement as I had problems with scratches. It’s essential to make sure I am careful with prints like this in the future. Also, due to poor time management I would have liked to have shot more images. However, through the use of my pinhole camera, it began to get damaged with dents in the tin and this caused light to somehow get through gaps and ruin my paper before I had change to make a print, so I spent a lot of time attempting to make prints which weren’t working in the first place. Despite this, I was pleased with how these two prints came out from my own hand made pinhole camera. f I had more time, I would have made another camera to produce more negatives. It would have also given me chance to work with a different camera such as one made with a can to see this has any affect on the appearance of prints. I would have also been more experimental, going further afield to get my shots rather than staying concentrated in a certain section. However, overall this has enhanced my understanding of light and I would definitely be interesting in working with pinhole photography again.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on May 15, 2013.

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