Welcome to our first guest post! Today’s contribution is from Soros Ivan, who’s been a MIA user for a while and he is kindly sharing some of his experience and findings with us. You can find Ivan on instagram.
I started an interesting project in the beginning of this summer. I
thought of capturing my son’s first days in our flat. A lot of
pictures are taken when a new family member arrives, almost every
visitor to the flat immediately pulls out their phone and digital
camera. One thing is for sure, they don’t typically take their first pictures
with a pinhole camera. I used a series of photos to document the events
of the first days and weeks, and who came to visit us. In retrospect,
it’s not the first time I’ve used a pinhole camera to record an event
with family or friends.
I have been a photographer for more than twenty years and I studied
image and object making and design in art school. My first serious
camera was a Nikon f60. I didn’t shoot with a pinhole camera during
college, but I watched my roommate design and experiment with his own
pinhole camera. For many years after college, I continued to take pictures with a
Nikon f60 and by this time, several rolls had captured what happened
to me. I took the camera mainly to parties and on trips. In the late
2000s I read a blog post about World Pinhole Camera Day and how to
make one from a matchbox. The result completely blew me away and I
made matchbox cameras one after another. The film camera was replaced
by a digital one and then eventually I gave up photography altogether for many years.
Just before my fortieth birthday, I started to think about photography
again. For months I searched for pinhole camera manufactures until I
finally placed my first order. Since August 2020, I have been shooting
continuously and exclusively with pinhole cameras. I enjoy photography
more than ever, it’s the simplicity of it that captivates me. Just one
hole and a light sensitive surface, yet so many possibilities. From
the very first rolls, images appeared that were about my everyday
life. I didn’t come up with the idea that the best camera is the one
in your pocket. You can always take it out and shoot with it.
I soon got used to taking my pinhole camera everywhere with me, and
family weekends and gatherings with friends were (and still are) my
favourites. As well as wanting to record what was happening, I was
curious to see how the pinhole camera captured images of people and
moving things. Family members and friends easily got used to the
presence of the camera, because I just put it somewhere and it would
expose for minutes. It didn’t bother anybody. I didn’t flash in
anyone’s face; I didn’t ask them to move for a picture. The other
advantage is that people don’t came to me about how they look like in
the pictures. No more wrong side of the face, wrinkled blouse, sleepy
For many years, I have been giving photos taken at such events as
gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and other festive occasions. So far, I
have only received positive feedback.
The black and white images and slightly odd, blurry shapes win people
over while the picture reminds them of the shared experience.
The image becomes a unique memory that is theirs alone.
It also makes it a little intimate.
Over the years, I have bought several pinhole cameras and tried them
all in everyday situations, documenting events in my life. While I
love each of these cameras and consider them a work of art, there are
some cameras that I prefer in these situations. Mostly for indoor
photography, a wider angle of view is more practical, with a wider
angle of view, more space can be captured in the image. What I also
pay attention to is the film I use. For indoor photography, the
exposure time can be quite long, so I prefer to use a more sensitive
film, at least 400. Of course, that doesn’t mean I only document
indoor events, I’ve captured garden party happenings on several
This year we have a new family member. The arrival of our son sparked
the interest of the family and within a few weeks we had a lot of
people visiting our home. I thought I would record this process with
the MIA pinhole camera. Every day that someone came to our house, I
put the pinhole camera on the dresser and took pictures. A whole
series was put together in a couple of weeks. For me the pictures are
very atmospheric, they are the precious memory of our son’s first
weeks at home.