Pinhole Photography Class Brings Students Back to the Basics

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Can you take a photograph with a cola can? What about a coffee can? Or, a small paper box? Professor Bill Pettit’s Pinhole Photography class can and did during John Cabot University’s Summer Session I in Rome.

The Pinhole Photography course is a studio course focusing on ancient and modern image-making with particular attention to the pinhole photography. The purpose of the course is to provide students with a background in photography in general and in the relationship between image technologies through the centuries. Through exercises and experiments, students acquired competence with traditional black and white photo techniques that included making their own cameras to developing and making prints in the dark room. In addition to classroom and darkroom lectures, the course involves slideshows, on site shooting assignments, and gallery visits, with particular attention to the city of Rome as subject matter.

The first photographs emerge in the middle of the 19th century, but pinhole technology dates back a few thousand years. The knowledge of light being compressed, inverted, and projected goes as far back as the 5th century BCE. Pinhole imaging was widely used in art and science since the 13th century and continued throughout the Renaissance until the first photographic images were printed around 1850.

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Pinhole Photography Class

Pinhole Photography Student Lorenzo Torchia