Since 1999, a group of enthusiastic pinhole photographers has been harvesting interaction, preserving history, and challenging conventional assumptions about photography at Burning Man. Our aim is to document the people, art and events at Burning Man each year, while we teach others to explore their creativity through this hundred year old technique of pinhole photography.
With pinhole photography, the “lens” is merely a pinhole, created from a thin sheet of aluminum, and affixed to the camera body.
The Pinhole Project exposes 30 x 40 inch sheets of light sensitive gelatin silver paper. We work with 12 pinhole cameras, created out of 50-gallon cardboard barrels. This size is uniquely suited for capturing the incredible scale and immense diversity of art and culture at Black Rock City.
Under the red safelights of the darkroom, photosensitive paper is inserted into the camera body. Exposures range from 40 to 300 seconds, where concentrated beams of sunlight are funnelled through the pinhole and into the camera, creating a negative image of the recorded subject.
We maintain a desert darkroom in a shipping container, where we gather to processes, develop and fix about one hundred photographs each Burning Man. These unique images are then exhibited all over the playa.
Through this convergence of raw energy and traditional techniques, the pinhole photography group has each year given back to the community an artistic record of what was achieved at Burning Man: a uniquely alternative means of allowing observers to peer into the radical self-expression, innovation and art that is at the centre of the playa community.