Back to the pinhole future
By Srdjan Zivulovic
I haven’t been this excited and concerned about a story for a long time. I was about to photograph a young designer and his wooden pin hole camera. Photographing in a pristine way, without a lens and on film is a really amazing experience. Working for a long time with digital photography, I got used to the ease and speed of shooting, editing and transmitting the captured material to Reuters clients. Now, I had to remember all the procedures and loopholes involved in capturing and processing on the Leica film format.
That’s why I am grateful to the young and ever-cheerful designer and photographer Elvis Halilović for continuing the idea and development of pinhole cameras.
Elvis got his education at the Academy of fine arts and design in Ljubljana and has been developing his camera ever since. The idea of a pinhole camera came as a counterweight to the quick thinking ways of today’s digital camera manufacturers. The camera was made for long-term use and as a designer object which can be handed down as a family heirloom for generations. He has even noticed that young people wish to use their acquired knowledge and their own handywork to develop printed photographs.
After a few years of development, his venture managed to take off with the help of the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter. The project got support beyond his expectations, almost 11 times more than the requested funding. The 1,100 pinhole cameras already ordered is proof that Elvis is on a path going back to the future.
The camera is made out of two different kinds of wood (walnut and maple) and 14 tiny magnets. Instead of a lens it has a hole with the diameter of 0.2 millimeters. That means it has an aperture of 126 and thus a long exposure time, even up to a few minutes. Elvis developed the pinhole cameras for six different film formats from the classic Leica to 9×12 cm.
After shooting with the Leica format I felt like I was back in 1972, the year I took my first photograph and took the film to be developed in a photo studio. Sweet joy overtook me when I looked through a magnifier at the developed film placed on a lightbox, just like in the good old times. So thank you again, Elvis, and good luck on your way back to the future.