The Pinhegg – My Journey To Build An Egg Pinhole Camera

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Since I started pin-holing the world, I have had the strong desire to make a special camera, with the purpose of shooting just one photograph. The purpose was to sacrifice the camera in the process of photo creation – I wanted the camera to become the photograph. To let you understand, the process from the camera to the photograph is the same that ties the baby bird to the egg: the bird grows protected from the shell and when it's ready breaks it and comes out. This is why I decided to create the Pinhegg – An Egg Pinhole Camera.

Credits: francescco

On the one hand it all seemed so easy – I would create the Pinhegg without breaking the egg, using it as a camera obscura and, upon opening the egg, find the photograph impressed on the shell.

Great.

But, on the other hand, the project didn’t seem easy at all and I postponed it for years – Until, that is, Lomography and the Pinhole Day happening right on Easter gave me the right pretext to do it.

I tried several times, in several ways, soiling my hands with a foul deed made of broken eggs. Now the chickens look at me in pain and terror, but I finally found the right recipe for my Egg pinhole.

Credits: francescco

Ingredients:

  • Egg
  • Pinhole
  • Liquid photographic emulsion (I used Rolley’s)
  • Photographic acid (processing and fixing)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Black cloth
  • A garden
  • Stubbornness
  • Patience
  • More Patience

Instructions:

Take the egg and drill it with a rotary tool (I used a Dremel) in order to obtain a square hole (2cm). At this point, usually, you will find yourself covered in egg juice. Before washing yourself be sure that the egg’ shell is empty. Wash yourself and the interior of the egg. In a dark room paint the interior of the shell with the emulsion, in order to make it light-sensitive.

Credits: francescco

Now block the opening with a wrought-brass pin-holed plate, trying to restore the natural egg-ness of the shell. With the black tape seal the structure. You’ll notice that the shell is really transparent: to avoid any problem, wrap it with the black cloth, carefully leaving out the pinhole. During each stage of this process the egg could break. Usually it does.

You should finally manage to have a perfect and clothed pinhegg. Now take it to the garden. Place yourself (I did it crouched, naked, motionless) in front of the egg (facing the pinhole!) for about thirty seconds. Luckily, my neighbors spared me from reporting my behavior to the police – I hope yours to be so kind too.

When I felt that the egg was impressed enough by my naked body, I went back to the dark room. I suggest you to do the same. Even if you stay clothed. There, unwrap the egg, remove the pinhole (carefully) and fill the egg with the processing acid and the fixing one, in this order. When it’s done, you should see something appear on the inner surface. You can widen the opening on the egg and take a better look: the photograph should be there, negative and lightly warped by the roundness of the shell. At this point I took a photograph (with a ‘normal’ camera) of the shell and turned it negative in order to see the positive of the original. You can do the same or challenge yourself to find another way to do it.

The vision of my brushy naked body wasn’t so nice to entice me to take more photographs, so I asked a model to pose for my egg. The egg must have appreciated this, because the photos I took after that decision were wider and more definite than my self-portrait.

Credits: francescco

As you can see, the whole thing is almost simple. The worst part is to deal with the fragility of the shell. In order to take four good photographs I destroyed more than fifty eggs. I should have made a portrait of the biggest pinhole omelette since the times of Dadaism.

So, as I wished, the egg is the camera and the photograph at the same time. It is the beginning and the end of the photographic process. If you add a rebirth (don’t ask me how, please) you’ll have a Perfect-for-Easter pinhegg.

Credits: francescco

The image born in the egg should be happy enough to stay there forever. It will not leave, age or sepia-wash. At the most, it will glance out, sometimes.

That’s it. Happy Easter. And please, don’t forget to pinhole the world, pinhole anything, pinhole everything that you see.

Francesco Capponi
www.francescocapponi.it

written by francescco on 2011-04-23 in #lifestyle #francessco #francesco-capponi #pinhole #egg #world #pinhegg #camera #day

54 Comments

  1. pith
    pith ·

    Amazing Idea! You're genius!!!

  2. blormore
    blormore ·

    Very creative!

  3. dogma
    dogma ·

    WoW, that a cool stuff!

  4. singleelderly
    singleelderly ·

    COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

  5. baijiu89
    baijiu89 ·

    probably the coolest thing in lomography magazine!

  6. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    HOLY CRAP that is sooo cool!!!!

  7. stouf
    stouf ·

    Fantastic and poetic !

  8. localmanmark
    localmanmark ·

    Great idea. I was wondering if there was any way of inverting the image with chemicals?

  9. merge
    merge ·

    That is altogether too awesome! Great idea. great concept. Giving birth to the photo - I love it.

  10. pzjo
    pzjo ·

    nothing short of amazing. very inspiring

  11. dhuffone
    dhuffone ·

    This just blew my mind a little! :-)

  12. outadablue1-2
    outadablue1-2 ·

    I don't want to seem disrespectful to your procedure, but I do have a suggestion that might make the egg somewhat less fragile before you begin construction. Would it help to strengthen the shell by dipping it in wax before making any changes to it? You could even use a dark-colored wax to block out light. Once the wax hardens, it would provide support to the structure, yet be soft enough to cut through. I would not expect it to react to the printing acids, and it could be removed easily when desired. I think I'll give it a try and see what happens...

  13. francescco
    francescco ·

    in truth I had painted black and then painted white again.
    But even with two coats of paint, if you were not perfect to the millimeter, the light was likely to go ... I'll try to do with blacks in the future again!

  14. francescco
    francescco ·

    with wax, you can try ... but I'm not sure if it works!

  15. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    genius.

  16. liisachisholm
    liisachisholm ·

    this is the coolest idea!!

  17. lusisilu
    lusisilu ·

    :-P

  18. bridgetj
    bridgetj ·

    I was going to say "Holy Cow" but that doesn't seem quite appropriate. This is clucking awesome.

  19. thetys
    thetys ·

    What an original idea !
    For the fragility issue, I would suggest to use goose eggs : they're slightly bigger and have much thicker shells. I bought one at a taxidermist shop in Paris for about 2€ (way cheaper than ostrich eggs ^^). It won't stop the light either, thou.

  20. moonormoon
    moonormoon ·

    awesome.totally

  21. lisabegusch
    lisabegusch ·

    Wow I love it! What a great idea with such a philosophical idea behind it... :) Genius!

  22. photog_mahler
    photog_mahler ·

    very awesome. Have you tried doing the albumen process with this? that way, at least the egg whites wont go to waste... if you can sucessfully get the whites out of the egg shell without compromising the shell itself.

  23. 1511
    1511 ·

    admirable patience!

  24. crookedlens
    crookedlens ·

    Bravo! a truely ingenious way to photograph the world.

  25. magicsuperbird
    magicsuperbird ·

    one of the top stories of lomography magazine of last year for a very good reason! I love it when you task yourself and come up with insane sounding ideas and actually make it happen one day. this is just great!

  26. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    LOVE

  27. ginny
    ginny ·

    This is incredible...

  28. peeciella
    peeciella ·

    homaikot! marvelous! <33

  29. angelhaken
    angelhaken ·

    fantastic !

  30. vision
    vision ·

    I love this idea, very cool -- what distance were you from the egg to get the above photo of yourself?

  31. feelux
    feelux ·

    Mind: Blown. Amazing idea!

  32. rantz
    rantz ·

    This is fantastic and I look forward to trying same in the near future - thanks francesco.

  33. le_ors
    le_ors ·

    mi è piaciuto abbastanza questo articolo :)
    l'arte ce l'hai

  34. jaybees80
    jaybees80 ·

    really cool idea

  35. polish-cezar
    polish-cezar ·

    That's incredible

  36. norweegie
    norweegie ·

    Amazzzinnng! Lovely results, worth the pain I'm sure :)

  37. frau_zornies
    frau_zornies ·

    this article just blew my mind!

  38. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    100% Completely, totally, awesome.

  39. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    fantastico risultato! hai mai pensato di usare uova di struzzo?

  40. bkspicture
    bkspicture ·

    Awesome!!!

  41. laora-drouet
    laora-drouet ·

    So full of poetry... Fantastic

  42. mynamehasbeenstolen
    mynamehasbeenstolen ·

    this. is. awesome. (!)

  43. meryfromspain
    meryfromspain ·

    I'm totally amazed.. Great idea and fantastic results!!

  44. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    ORIGINAL. 2 Years Ago article, I'm sooooo late

  45. micky_s
    micky_s ·

    eggcellent!!! :D

  46. panik75
    panik75 ·

    next time try to do this with a duck egg. the shell is a lot harder and sturdier so you may not need 50 eggs! You idea is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. jefffletcher
    jefffletcher ·

    jefffletcher,
    I wonder if you saw my Bromide Eggs published on the cover of the Pinhole Journal. I first put images on the inside of egg shells in 1988 using a pepper shaker as a camera. There is a dozen of them in the San Antonio Museum Of Art, SA Texas.

  48. pan_dre
    pan_dre ·

    Still one of my favourite Tipsters of all times!!

  49. snoop
    snoop ·

    everytime i see this tipster i am amazed!

  50. schugger
    schugger ·

    Fantastic idea!

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