Say Hello Dorothy

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been preparing for, and finally moving house. All in all it went as smoothly as we could have hoped, but it has meant little time for photography. But the new house has a large garage attached. Better still, the garage has a sink and running water, perfect for a home darkroom.

So, it’s time to introduce you to Dorothy.

Dorothy is a pinhole camera, made from a shoe box (Dorothy Perkins, Casual Knee Boot, size 6). The most basic camera there is, it has no lens, no film, no battery, no memory card and absolutely no megapixels. To be more accurate, Dorothy is actually 42 pinhole cameras. Inside the shoebox is a piece of brass sheet with a grid of 42 holes, each 0.6mm in diameter. They should have been 0.3, but I broke every size of drill that I tried up until 0.6 so 0.6 is was.

Behind the brass is a piece of foam with cardboard packing material cut into it that I got from a skip at work. This keeps the light coming in through the holes separate until it hits the paper that is held in place with some corner guides made from a Pironi beer box.
The ‘shutter’ is the lid of the box. Starting and ending the exposure without moving things too much is a challenge, especially when balanced on the garden chair used as an improvised tripod.

This camera makes my Holga look like a Leica…

The 0.6mm holes are roughly equivalent to f120. The aging 10×8 Ilford Multigrade IV RC Deluxe paper I have is around ISO3. This combination and the overcast conditions meant a 2 minute exposure. Once processed, the image looked like this:

Dorothy 2 (1 of 1)-2But having seen James’s similar project, I knew that I wanted to reverse the image to get something that was easier for the brain to deal with. That means using photoshop invert the image and to take the bottom right cell and place it in the top left. Hopefully you see what I mean…25474452783_cedf5309ee_k

My daughter Ella did a great job of remaining still for 2 minutes, despite her sister and I gooning about around her.

If you’re at all interested in this sort of photography, and especially if you’re local to Leicester, you may want to join us at Leicester Lo-Fi Photography.
As I make more pictures with Dorothy, I’ll add them to this Flickr set, but for the time being, here’s a couple more shoe box portraits…



Dorothy Perkins Shoebox (causal knee boot, size 6), Ilford Multigrade RC IV Deluxe, ISO 3, f/120, 2 minutes in overcast conditons. Then Ilford Multigrade developer at 1:9 for 45 seconds, Ilfostop for 10s and Rapid Fixer for 30.


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