Film fanatics revive historic art of pinhole pictures in old morgue

From the darkness of a previous morgue, a group of camera lovers on Western Australia’s south coast are reviving the historic art of pinhole photography.

Associates of the Albany Digital camera Lovers (ACE) transformed the compact, windowless developing into their darkroom a number of many years ago.

The place dead bodies were once laid out for article-mortem investigations, there are now photographic enlargers and bottles of movie developer.

ACE committee member Bob Symons said the conversion took some do the job but was worthy of it.

“When we to start with opened the door, there was a curtain of cobwebs that hadn’t been cleaned for a lot of decades,” Mr Symons said.

“I had to get in in this article with a water blaster … but, luckily, the odor experienced long long gone.

Albany’s Bob Symons develops a photograph in the former morgue that now functions as the camera club’s darkroom.(

ABC Fantastic Southern: Tom Edwards


Soothing respite from electronic dramas

Pinhole images is a single of the oldest and most essential sorts of images, the roots of which can be traced again to the mid-1850s.

A pinhole camera can be as very simple as a gentle-sealed box punctured with a small pinhole, via which light passes and initiatives an graphic on to photographic paper.

Because the measurement of the pinhole – its aperture – is so smaller, it normally takes several minutes to make an exposure, earning static topics these as landscapes and architecture the most apparent option for pinhole images.

A fisheye photo of an old, stone church with a clock tower
Based on the structure, pinhole cameras can deliver images that have a distorted, fisheye impact.(

Supplied: Bob Symons


It has emerged as a traditionalist niche in the movie images revival that is in complete movement in Australia and overseas. 

Mr Symons claimed element of the attractiveness was its soothing tempo, a reduction in an increasingly speedy-paced electronic period.

“The problem with digital is that it really is fast gratification, whereas this slows you down,” he said.

“You may go out and acquire just a couple pictures, but you do not know what you have acquired right until you go property and get it into the developer.”

Three different pinhole cameras, with metal 'lunchbox camera' in front and cardboard version behind at left
Pinhole cameras can be produced from a assortment of unique products, giving each unique traits.(

ABC Fantastic Southern: Tom Edwards


Experimentation at heart of pinhole magic

Nestled in the tranquil confines of the ACE studio are a several illustrations of the various pinhole cameras that users have built more than the years.

The making resources variety from low cost and cheerful cardboard, suitable up to elaborate, handcrafted steel concoctions with names like “lunchbox cam”.

Just one of the associates even made worldwide headlines five yrs ago when he built a operating pinhole digital camera out of a potato. 


It is this experimental ethos which Mr Symons says will retain pinhole pictures alive for future generations.

“You can make a pinhole digital camera out of just about anything if you definitely want to,” he claimed.

“The a lot more experimental you get, the additional exciting the effects … for me, which is the actual magic of it.”

A black and white fish-eye photo of a two-masted tall sailing ship docked in port taken with a pinhole camera
A duplicate of the Brig Amity docked in Albany, photographed with a pinhole digital camera.(

Supplied: Bob Symons