top of page
  • By Lara Wheeler

Cher MacNeill: Pinhole photography

Pinhole photography seems to contravene the photographic trend of speed and instant gratification achieved through digital technology. Instead, pinhole photography inherently necessitates a slow and decided resolve.

The elemental photographic technology, whereby light enters an aperture the size of a pin and etches an image onto a film or paper emulsion, requires much patience. Since images can take anywhere from seconds to hours to capture, depending on available light, the pinhole format is conducive to condensing the passage of time onto a single frame.

Using a camera that is essentially a wooden box with brass fittings, Cher MacNeill uses her pinhole camera and creativity to produce images that are influenced by the medium and the artist herself. Without a viewfinder, she is able only to approximate the composition. Without a shutter speed, MacNeill says she can only estimate the exposure: “You have only your imagination to envision how the final image will turn out. There’s a little bit of guesswork in every step of the process, and you have to take your time with it. All combined, it becomes a bit meditative.”