Martin Cheung - An Interview With The Pinhole Prodigy


We recently caught up with one of our favorite pinhole photographers, Martin Cheung - Read on to find out what he's been up to and see some examples of his stunning work!

First off, why pinhole photography? What is it about the medium which most attracts you?

In 1997, during my first year study, the school organized a 1 day pinhole workshop for our class. We learnt to convert a Biscuit Can into a pinhole camera by using a needle to make the “lens” – This was a big contrast from our daily practice where we focused on 4×5 technical cameras, lighting, zone system etc. After this workshop, I ignored the pinhole medium for a while, as I thought pinhole was too easy and too low-tech for me; I almost felt that it’s useless.

However, later on (half a year or so later), I began not believing in photography as reality anymore and I tried to make different types of pinhole cameras with different materials. After failing many times, I realized that the accidental part of pinhole photography was what I was looking for. Also, due to the long exposures, I slowed down and stopped hunting – This meditative and uncertain way of photographing is what attracts me most.

For those who have never shot pinhole or are just starting out, what would your first piece of advice be?

For those who have no dark room and wish to try pinhole photography, I suggest they try using a DSLR or micro 4/3 cameras, to make a pinhole conversion. Just simply replace the lens with a pinhole on the camera – This is an easy way to start.

You once created a great pinhole camera from a roast duck….why a duck?

The Duck Cam is 10 years old now (I first made it in 2001) – I guess most people know me through this work and I’ve spoken about it many times already. But to cut it short, I was a waiter in a Chinese restaurant in China Town while studying in Melbourne. During this time, I wondered how a Roast Duck sees China Town, so then I did the Duck Cam. If you have time, check out my website to see my artist statement.

Have you got any pinhole projects coming up that you can tell us about?

Recently, my friend Michael and I have started Shanghai Street Studios, we hold pinhole camera and candle making workshops there. The core idea of this space is to create a visual map of the local scene by using pinhole photography and purchase 2nd hand material from the local area, so this area can be preserved.

Another important piece of news is that I’m having an exhibition in Muji Atelier Gallery from August to November, showing my paper folding pinhole cameras. Don’t miss it if you are in Hong Kong.

If you could take a pinhole photograph of one subject, who or what would it be and why?

I would love to photograph the Earth from the Universe, because I want to see the Earth spin in this long exposure photo.

Have you got a personal favorite photo that you took which you could show us? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite photos are photos of my girlfriend Topaz.
Why are these photos my favorites? Because she is my favorite.

How do you work out how long to expose a pinhole shot for?

Actually, I have an exposure time in mind every time before I shoot, but using a light meter can make me feel more secure. Usually, the light meter’s reading is a guideline, by experience, I add or subtract the exposure. About 3 years ago, I was still carrying a light meter with me, but since there’s a light meter app on iphone, my light meter is always in my drawer now.

Read our previous interview with Martin Cheung

Interested in pinhole photography? Try out the Diana Multi-Pinhole Operator – It allows you to choose from 1, 2, or 3 pinholes on a shot. Paired with colour gels, there’s no end to your medium format pinhole fun! Get your own Diana Multi Pinhole Operator now!

written by tomas_bates on 2011-08-02 in #lifestyle #cheung #pinhole #martin #lifestyle #interview #pinhole-photography #pinholes #pinhole-masters-and-magic #analogue #world-pinhole-day #duck #photography


  1. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    This gentleman is surely a genius! A roasted duck camera, that is beyond my feeble imagination, too cool! The Diana F+ has a pinhole function (take off the lens and set aperture to "pinhole" and set shutter to "B") I have experimented with pinhole yet, but now I certainly will! Great article!

  2. nural
    nural ·

    I especially love the last shot! I also got Diana F+ but other than the times that the camera set itself to pinhole - with no workable results - I never used the function :(

More Interesting Articles

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Dale McCready

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-18 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Dale McCready

    Dale McCready is a cinematographer working in the film/ TV industry and has worked on programmes such as Doctor Who and Merlin. He was one of our supporters for the Petzval Kickstarter campaign and recently used the lens to film for a new BBC drama, which is due out in March. Dale kindly shared some of his Petzval photographs with us and talked about his love for this lens. Read on for the full interview.

  • Newcomer of the Week: johannb

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-08-30 in #world #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: johannb

    Graphic designer Johann Bottos caught the community's attention with his striking black and white landscape photographs. Previsualization is central to his photographic style. Before clicking the shutter, he tends to "wait for a particular moment or weather condition" that fits the image he has in mind. In this interview, he shares more about his passion for shooting on film as well as some of his favorite landscape images.

  • Photographer Gilbert Blecken Captures Iconic Musicians on Film

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-03-02 in #people #lifestyle
    Photographer Gilbert Blecken Captures Iconic Musicians on Film

    Back in the 1990s, Gilbert Blecken was a big music fan and wrote for his own small music fanzine. He would interview bands in between sound checks and take photographs of them. He was never a professional photographer or worked for a company; he simply did it for his fanzine. Twenty years on, Gilbert’s photographs have matured into an amazing documentation of some of the biggest music icons of that era. We caught up with Gilbert to ask him about these photographs and the fascinating story behind them.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Lomo'instant LomoAmigo: Martin Smith

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-17 in #people #news #lifestyle #locations #lomoamigos
    Lomo'instant LomoAmigo: Martin Smith

    Martin Smith is a London based film photography fan who was one of the first people to receive the Lomo'instant from the Kickstarter Campaign. Since then he's been avidly shooting around town. Martin chatted to us about his love for instant photography and showed us some of his excellent shots. Read on for the full interview.

  • LomoAmigo Asher Moss Tries the Lomo'Instant

    written by antoniocastello on 2014-12-10 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo Asher Moss Tries the Lomo'Instant

    We love Asher Moss' work. He's been our LomoAmigo for quite some time and is always eager to try new stuff. We recently gave him the Lomo'Instant camera to experiment with, and here are some of his shots.

  • LomoGuru of the Week: roman_sekatsky

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-12-21 in #lifestyle #videos
    LomoGuru of the Week: roman_sekatsky

    Arguably, Roman Sekatsky has one of the most distinct photographic styles in our community. His extensive and experimental use of vivid colors often gives his snapshots an otherworldly vibe. Read on to find out what makes our latest LomoGuru tick and sample some of his finest work.

  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • LomoAmigo: Paul White

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-20 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Paul White

    Paul White is a South East London-based hip-hop producer with tons of energy and a penchant for film photography. He recently released his fifth album on the mighty R&S label. We decided to arm him with a Sprocket Rocket to shoot his adventures with. Read the full interview and see his images here.

  • Newcomer of the Week: mindori

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-07-19 in #world #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: mindori

    For many years, Kenny had already been purchasing film and accessories from the Online Shop before he noticed our bustling community. Looking for a place to connect with people who share his passion for shooting on film, he immediately created a LomoHome and started sharing his stunning collection of street photographs.

  • Coloring Outside the Lines with LomoAmigo Tim Kerr

    written by jacobs on 2015-02-16 in #people #lomoamigos
    Coloring Outside the Lines with LomoAmigo Tim Kerr

    We recently had the great opportunity to interview our latest LomoAmigo, Tim Kerr. While his repertoire stretches back to the late 1970's and includes that of musician, artist, painter, photographer, skater and many other things, he just prefers Tim! We gave him a La Sardina DIY, which he not only added his own style to, but shot some excellent photos with as well. Rife with candid and thoughtful answers, we expect everyone will glean a nugget of wisdom and leave with a smile.

  • Shop News

    Get a Perfect Instant Selfie with Fuji Instax Mini 70!

    Get a Perfect Instant Selfie with Fuji Instax Mini 70!

    Get the perfect self-portraits or group photos with your friends with this instant camera! This camera allows you to be picture ready with its mirror next to the lens and gives you an idea where is best to smile!

  • Cyanotype Photography with Petzval Amigo Chris Pollard

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-09 in #people #news
    Cyanotype Photography with Petzval Amigo Chris Pollard

    A few months ago we lent photographer Chris Pollard a Petzval lens to test out. Since then he has been experimenting with different cameras and in different settings. He tried out some cyanotype prints with this lens and chatted to us about the results. Read on for the full interview.

  • Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news
    Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    Have you ever tried going lens-less when taking a photo? Try shooting with ONDU Pinhole Cameras and see what it's like to take photos through a tiny pinhole. Check out these lovely shots taken by Lomographers; if you do have some ONDU pinhole photos of your own, upload and tag them accordingly so that we can see them!

  • Petzval Amigo: Ellie Smith

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-03-07 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Ellie Smith

    Ellie Smith is a London-based fashion and portrait photographer with a real talent for taking simple and beautiful portraits. Recently, she took the Petzval Art Lens to the streets of East London to capture some urban shots. Read on for the full interview and see her striking photographs.