One of my first digital pinhole photographs and one of the very first photographs in history.
The same still life composition in comparison:

Laszlo Kerekes, 2005
Nicéphore Nièpce, around 1830

Spread table / Recycling Memory - Laszlo Kerekes,
digital pinhole photograph, 2005.
(after the heliograph of Joseph Nicéphore Nièpce)

Digital camera obscura - About my digital and analogue wide angle pinhole photographs

In comparison: two different pinhole cameras by Laszlo Kerekes,
analogue and digital

The pinhole photo camera is a Camera Obscura built to admit light through a pinhole
to make photographs without a lens.

analogue pinhole camera

Many years ago I built my first
ANALOGUE pinhole camera
designed for 6 x 6 cm exposures, film size 120 .
Recently I have adapted an industrially produced photo camera (image left) which uses the standard 24 x 36 mm film.
digital pinhole camera

In July 2005 I have transformed a compact digital photo camera with a fixed focus into a
DIGITAL pinhole camera
and completely removed its lens. This unusual and technically quite complicated adaptation delivered unexpected photographic results and clearly shows the paradigmatic change from the analogue to the digital mode.
The created digital images refer back to the beginnings of photography in the early 19th century, when heliography and the daguerreotype were invented.

Both of my cameras are adapted to make wide angle pictures using the extreme depth of focus of a pinhole according to the same optical rule. The pinhole camera has no lens, therefore the photographs are focused or unfocused in a characteristic way. Because of the wide angle, most of the pictures are vignetted on their edges, on some of them appears a "rainbow effect" caused by interference of sunlight falling into the pinhole.

Of course, analogue and digital pinhole cameras work differently. The analogue camera needs approx. 10 seconds for the exposure, usually resulting in scenes without the presence of people or showing just their ghost-like shadows because they are moving generally much quicker than the time of exposure.

The digital pinhole camera allows a shorter time of exposure. The digital photographs are registered not on film, but on a CCD-sensor, that is, on an electronic chip which has nearly the same size as a single frame of a super 8-mm movie film. The light is shining through an extremely small hole onto the CCD-sensor which reacts very sensitively to any differences of the intensity, quantity or direction of light. Because of these uncontrollable factors, some photographs or some of their parts have a low-level resolution, appearing as if they were images from another planet or even appearing as some ancient daguerreotype. The CCD-sensor is permanently loaded electrostatically, therefore the smallest particles of dust simply cannot be cleaned from its surface. Their presence gives the photographs an extraordinary atmosphere.

The most important innovation at my wide angle digital pinhole camera is that the original lens has been removed. This made it possible to place the pinhole as close as approx. 3 millimeters away from the CCD-sensor, which was necessary to achieve the amazing wide angle of around 100°.
The wide angle is the main difference to other digital pinhole experiments, most of them use a SLR with "pinhole body cap" or a compact camera with "pinhole lens cap": easy to make but unsuited for taking wide angle shots because the pinhole is too far away from the sensor.

The digital pinhole camera unites the entire history of photography from the early beginnings to the present state of technology; an important step back into the past with a vision of the future. 

Digital Pinhole Movie / Dreamlike Movies

The digital pinhole camera can also be used as a movie-camera.
In contrast to the conventional film-based analogue pinhole camera, the digital camera works differently. The exposure time is much shorter.
Using the movie-making modus of the camera, short films can be made:
without a lens, only through a pinhole.
My camera allows a maximum film duration of 2 minutes, at 10 frames per second.
As with digital pinhole still photographs, the images of the digital wide angle pinhole-movie have special visual qualities, atmosphere and colors. They show a dreamlike reality which cannot be filmed by any other kind of camera. Because of their wide angle, some of the images contain characteristic vignettations, typical for wide angle pinhole shots.
Making movies with a digital pinhole-camera offers a new dimension to the pinhole practice which was unknown until now.

Examples of Digital Pinhole Movies
These movies were shot with the "digital pinhole camera" shown above, at 10 frames per second.

digital pinhole movie
view movie (.mpg, 860 k)

Sequence taken from the first experimental wide angle digital pinhole-movie shot in Berlin-Neukölln, September 2006.

Duration: 18 sec. / without sound.


digital pinhole movie
view movie (.mpg, 2500 k)

Movie shot at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, October 2006.

Duration: 57 sec. / without sound.


The premiere of these short films, the first taken without a lens, took place on the opening program of the third "Berlin Directors Lounge" - an international experimental cinema festival during the "Berlinale" on
February 8th, 2007 in Berlin.

About my digital pinhole photographs

"Things that are seen don't last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinth. 4,18

These recent photographic images follow the traces of my artistic experience, which is connected with photography since the early 1970s.

It is not by chance that in view of the immense surge of an unprecedented flood and resulting devaluation of photographic images, I resort to what is specific or to what is created with the help of coincidence by using some low-tech photographical tools. I deal with them spiritually in a similar manner as I would paint.

The creation of these pieces is compatible with the way I work as an artist and they have no other intention than to represent themselves. They show unrepeatable situations and moments of visual reality. The motives are registered through the combined work of the human eye, of time, of light, and of an elemental physical law inherent in my self-made photo cameras which were conceived and developed in regard to specific optical and technical characteristics. In other words, I am interested in an artistic process of creation, during which my photographs can only be produced with my self-made pinhole cameras.

During my experiments with shadows and reflections of light I observed that the poetics of these photographs concerned the energies of the transitory, having always to do with the rules of speed and coincidence. It is no mistake if the images seem to be not perfect, partially unfocused, however more than I intended, attaining some kind of dreamlike reality on the border to the illusionary. Therefore, in order to increase the credibility of these dimensions, I proceeded as I did with my installations and added in certain instances some artificial objects between elements of architectural or scenic compositions, shot in Berlin. It is a sort of romanticizing of what this specially reflected but recognizable urban landscape generally and in detail is about. The images are not designs; I leave them pure in their authentic aesthetics. As in the experiments of avantgarde photographers in the past, when there was no computer technology.

Exhibition of these photographic artworks:
C-Prints on paper developed in different sizes.
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For other Table-Installations  by L. Kerekes visit and go to Installations/Tables.

Laszlo Kerekes / Berlin /

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