pinhole camera

Baker's Dozen : A Pinhole Dialogue by Amy Rockett-Todd

What began as a trek through the woods towards Fairy Beach, with canned chairs atop the heads of her children, fusing the paths of two wellie-wearing women … Amy Rockett-Todd met Antonia Small on that rocky beach the summer of 2012.  As Jack, Antonia’s jack Russell, perched himself atop a nearby rock, the two discovered they were both ‘pinholers’.

 A chance meeting on a quiet empty slip of land, a stone's throw from Andrew Wyeth's childhood home "Eight Bells" ... on this beach which isn't even visible at high tide, the two found themselves stepping into a visual pinhole dialogue that would span almost 2000 miles and 13 months.

They began in April 2013, on Worldwide Pinhole Day, with their wooden Zero Image Cameras with 120 roll-film, shooting images specific to their own artistic visions as well as the contrasts of their varied regions – the flatlands of Oklahoma and the rugged coast of Maine.  Each image from both artists includes a backstory, a personal account of the experiences of discovery and image capture.  These backstories can be found alongside all 26 exhibition images within their 90 page book titled Baker’s Dozen : A Pinhole Dialogue, and can be purchased at TAC Gallery (9 E MB Brady, Tulsa OK) during the exhibition (April 1-30, 2016) or online at here:   



What exactly is Pinhole Photography? … Pinhole photography is lensless photography. A tiny hole replaces the lens. As light passes through the hole; an image is formed onto film emulsion in the camera.

Art. Architecture. And Photography ... Inspiration! by Amy Rockett-Todd

Individual ferrotypes awaiting final varnishing, to be assembled into a 3D relief composition.  Title: Abundant Life.  2014.

Individual ferrotypes awaiting final varnishing, to be assembled into a 3D relief composition.  Title: Abundant Life.  2014.

This idea of combining art, architecture, and photography has been floating around in concept form internally for years.  Without concrete direction and only free-thinking inspiration, I had begun to gather images … of buildings.  Of trees.  The way structure interacts with its surroundings.  New structures. Old structures.  Their presence today.  Their history over time and how they interact with the present.  Abandoned. Or in use.  Their primary purpose for being built.  Their lifespan.  Exterior adornments – or none. 

I notice the way a root peeks out from a sidewalk slab beside a building’s foundation.  It peers out and reinserts itself back into the sidewalk joint.  On its way.

I suppose the observations themselves intrigue me.  I’m not one to attach myself to a cause or any platform.  I just want to see.  To interpret.  And to create. 

I love to learn.  Learning is a risk.  It involves admitting when you don’t have all the answers.  It involves self doubt, openness, and vulnerability.  It also involves great rewards and answers to come.

As I have taken a step towards this combination of mediums and past inspiration … I have discovered a lot of new (to me) creatives along the way.  They have become unknowing cheerleaders for the work I am currently creating.  Some of these artists have passed on, yet their work continues to speak.  To inspire.  To give new direction.  And thought. 

I soak it all in.   

Now, add to this a fascination for geometric order.  In terms of photography, Neal Cox’s pinhole work ticks all these boxes.  He builds pinhole camera structures based on geometric grids and allows the structure to capture views from the multiple vantage points within his pinhole camera structures.  For him, math meets science meets photography.  The resulting images are incredibly beautiful segments of geometry, reassembled to form glimpses into the particular moment and location in which his constructed mathematical contraption sat.

I have rediscovered Neo-Concretism, a Brazilian arts movement.  The work of artists Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, and Gego really excite my spacial sensibilities and touch on art as a form of therapy … sometimes becoming interactive, and always inviting the viewer to become a part of the work.

The grid pieces of Emma Kunz and Agnes Martin also come to mind.

Laurent Millet’s work was introduced to me by friend and colleague, Antonia Small.  And I am creatively indebted to her for it.  Millet seems to find a way of interpreting spacial arrangements into constructed geometries and photographs them using wet plate collodion.

It's a good feeling to open up to new ideas and new work.  I look forward to soaking up more!