Q&A-Pinhole photography

By: Ben Furtado Journal photo editor
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Meet Roger Cline, owner of Cline and Company graphic designs based in Auburn. Using his computer and graphic programs to create advertisements for clients in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, Cline ditches his digital camera and lugs around a home made pinhole camera measuring 26x24x8 inches producing images on 16x20 inch black and white paper. Last Friday I met up with Cline at No Hands Bridge for a photo shoot with his box camera he calls “the beast.” Here are a series of questions I asked him during his 4.5-minute exposure of No Hands Bridge. Q-How did you first get involved with pinhole photography? A- I found myself taking apart a little plastic Diana camera and customized it so much, I decided to start building my own cameras. I have been shooting with my own pinhole cameras for the past 8 years. I use The Beast and a tin cylinder pinhole camera. Q-What kind of paper are you using? A- I use Ilford black and white paper with satin finish. I use this for two reasons, first the satin finish doesn’t bounce around the light in the box as much as the glossy finish. And second, Ilford papers don’t have text written on the back of the paper like Kodak does, which will show up on the final image during development. Q-Why do you like pinhole photography? A-That’s a tough question. First I would say it’s a lot of fun to capture images with a camera I made. Also there’s certain serenity about getting something unexpected. It’s very free form and non-structured type of photography and you can create something different and unique every time. Q-How do you determine your exposure? A-Well, it’s not a scientific equation. It’s mostly trial and error, using the box more and more and keeping track of the time of day I shoot and applying that to the next photo. Q- Do you incorporate any of your pinhole photographs with your graphic design elements? A- Not typically, because it’s very time consuming scouting out locations, setting up the shot and developing the image. After all of that, I may not even get something worth using. It’s much easier to hire a photographer who shoots digital. Q-If some one wanted to get started in pinhole photography what would they need? A-They need trays for chemicals and a dark area like a bathroom or garage to develop their images. They would need to make a light tight box or a cylinder like a coffee can or oatmeal box, and black and white photographic paper. You can even make a pinhole camera out of a garbage can on wheels if it’s light tight. For more information on how to build your own pinhole camera visit