I have talked a lot about the artist I want to be but not much about the art I am making. I worry I am not doing enough. That I have gotten so caught up on how to promote my work that I have not put enough energy in to making work. I need to find a balance between the two or my charade is going to be exposed.
So what am I up to?
I am currently on a mission to figure out exposure times for my home made cardboard pinhole camera. I was quite proud of myself after making my sturdy cardboard camera. It is even fitted with a 4×5 film holder, which allows me to get two exposures without the use of a change bag or dark room. For those readers not familiar with the process it makes things a lot more convenient.
Then I realized that if I show too much excitement over a camera made of scraps I am going to have a harder time convincing my husband we need to spend money on photography gear. Plus I had no clue how long I needed to expose the film in order to produce a quality image. My excitement has turned into determination to make my invention work.
I am not the first one to make a homemade pinhole camera. It is a popular darkroom class assignment. I think a majority of pinhole cameras that are used are made by the photographer with a found object. I have read some articles were old view cameras were converted. You can even buy a pinhole kit or a sturdy pinhole camera for around $50, but they are not as much fun and are not artist-on-a-budget friendly.
And by fun I do mean frustrating. There are sites with calculators so you can take all the measurements and light samples known to man, plug the data into their grid, and come up with a estimate of what your exposure should be. But every site is different. So I am doing it the old fashion way of trial and error. So far I have made 6 exposures all of which were harshly over exposed. It is disheartening to develop your film to only find it is completely black.
But I am taking notes. Im recording all the factors. It has become more of a science experiment and less of an artistic endeavor. The artistic part can shine through when the science part has been discovered. I remember reading in a book on Irving Penn, a master of photography, that his darkroom contained notebooks filled with tedious notes on each photograph he took. So maybe I am going in the right direction.