Sheila McKinney: Pinholes

Sat 16 Mar - Fri 24 May 2019
Eagle Feet Gallery, An Tobar

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Sheila McKinney currently divides her time between Connel and London. During the past decade or so she has also lived in Houston, Texas and St John’s, Newfoundland. While in Canada she began to experiment with alternative photographic processes: pinhole, cyanotypes and lumens. For this exhibition she presents a series of images made using pinhole cameras.

A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens but with a tiny aperture – ‘pinhole’. It’s basically a light proof box with a small hole on one side and any photo-sensitive surface in it. Light from a scene passes through the aperture and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box, which is known as the ‘camera obscura’ effect. Descriptions of the pinhole image can be found centuries ago, dating as far back as 500BC in Chinese writings. Early uses include the study of the nature of light and to safely watch solar eclipses as well being used by artists as a drawing aid.

The first known description of pinhole photography is found in the book, ‘The Stereoscope’ by Scottish inventor David Brewster in 1856, “a camera without lenses, and with only a pin-hole”.

Pinhole photographs have nearly indefinite depth of field, so everything appears in focus. However, exposure times can be long, resulting in motion blur around moving objects and the absence of objects that moved too fast