From The Kitchen To the Darkroom: Experimentation With Pinhole Photography.

Digging deep into our community archives, one can find all kinds of images. Recently, we happened upon the LomoHome of Vincenzo Cianciullo, a.k.a VinsArt . His project combines food and pinhole photography, and not in the traditional form of food photography Instead he explores a more experimental side, making of food the machine itself.

We interviewed Vincenzo, and he told us about his creative journey and his passion for pinhole photography, which after 32 years does not cease to fascinate him.

Photo by Vinsart

Hello Vincenzo and welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about your photographic background?

Hello and thank you for inviting me to tell you about my world. I started from a very young age to be interested in the classical arts as a whole. For photography, the exact moment I started was at the age of about 8 years old. My father took me to the Polish market every first Sunday of the month and among the icons, costume jewellery and a lot of hardware, I liked an old Zenit TTL, which my dad bought for me and became my inseparable companion for the next few years.

I used to buy The rolls of film from a photo shop I had practically down the street. My favorites were the Ilford 135s. I remember barely reaching the counter and there was the full-size hardback of the Ciribiribì Kodak silhouette that scared me.

Around the age of 13 I took my first steps with the darkroom. I liked to make rayographs. I savored hand-made development for a short time, maybe a year, but all those experiments, and also the many mistakes and difficulties, formed a fundamental baggage for the whole subsequent path. Thirty-two years have passed and I still sometimes buy rolls of film in the same store.

There is a lot of photography in your work that uses the pinhole camera. What particularly attracts you to this type of camera?

Yes, I love the philosophy behind creating images in this way. I think the more you take away the technological aids the more, by necessity, the human being behind the medium of expression comes out and the creative inspiration comes out, the real and personal one. I love that "slowness" in which it forces you to build the tools first and plan the shot later, it allows you to produce an image almost as a Zen practice. I love to self-produce my means and expressive tools from scratch, figuring out how to make them work is a gymnasium of experience that gives me a lot even then in the moment of the shot.

Photos by Vinsart

I love that unpredictability left in each image surrounded by a kind of dreamlike atmosphere. During the last few months, the latest fashion is to create images by having artificial intelligences rework them. The process is different, facilitated and perhaps a bit impersonal, but I see similarities in the results precisely in those magical, surreal, dreamlike feelings, only that those who do it and did it with a pinhole medium were able to begin 30 years ago to savor these elusive atmospheres.

So what was the creative process like that led you to make the food pinhole portrait project?

Primarily the pure experimentation of the construction part. I wanted to take the self-made part to the extreme and see what results came out of it. They may not be the sharpest and most perfect images that can be obtained from the best of self-made pinholes, but the experiments led to interesting and unexpected results.

For example of the shots taken with the Pepper-Pinhole (that is, a pinhole constructed from a bell pepper) I thought that the outer hull formed by the thick peel of the bell pepper was already a good start, so I put less care into constructing an inner layer made to shield the light. The result was that the light penetrated, but only a little, coincidentally resulting in just the right amount that allowed the images to come through, but giving it a magnificent reddish tint. I loved how each tool used somehow found its way to convey some of its essence to the image.

Foto di Vinsart

Do you have a favorite photo? Can you tell us the story behind it?

There are many photographs that have stuck in my heart. Keeping on the realm of experimental photography, I am reminded of a pinhole camera that I constructed from tetra paks, a material that turned out to be very interesting, easily shaped and durable. The main peculiarity was that it was quite resistant to water and humidity.

So, I was going to leave for Budapest for a month, in winter, and I imagined that I would find a lot of moisture, including minus 10 degrees, snow, ice, winds and fog. I thought about it for a while and finally had the epiphany: Tetra Pak! When I got there, the self-made tool proved its worth, so much so that it prompted me to even take it to the spa for the ultimate test. I went to the thermal baths-szechenyi, magnificent early 20th-century baths in the neo-Baroque style. The pool was outdoors and it was evening, snowing on my head with very low temperatures, while the water was boiling at 36 degrees, so we moved through the fog. It was forbidden to bring cameras but mine went unnoticed, probably looking more like juice.

Photos by Vinsart

When I needed my hands free I let it float on the water, (what do the children of digital and Iphone photographers even know). I also did some tests by submerging it completely, although the front hole was microscopic it was still an open hole. The submerged images did not turn out well, but the later ones suffered contamination from some water drops that had penetrated inside, and it had given to the images strange, as well as magnificent, stripes.

That's the beauty of pinhole photography. With traditional photography you can (at best) emulate the sense of sight. With a pinhole medium, severely minimized and reduced to the essentials, some other senses will also jump into the photographs randomly (It would be better to say magically). You will get some other traces of that moment immortalized: a feeling due to a particular weather situation, a suggestion of the moment or the residue of your own state of mind.

Where do you usually draw inspiration from for your experimental photography?

There is no specific practice, but I keep my imagination trained. I do a lot of study and research on both ancient and contemporary art. I draw heavily from any aspect of the world around me.

Also from my personal experiences. I strive to always find some precious time to stop and analyze what happened in a moment, or was said in a conversation. I try to dig deeper into the things that happen, even and perhaps especially the simplest and most fleeting ones.

The human being is the center on which I point the focus of my attention, and deriving from this, is my interest between human interactions. I love psychology and the psychological analysis of people. Having said that, I might well try my hand with abstract, landscape or still life images, but to me they will always be intended as a metaphorical portrait of some aspect of the human being, which I have gathered in my observations.

Photos by Vinsart

What are you up to in the future? Do you have any interesting projects or collaborations planned?

No! I just plan to get rid, even more than I already have, of many "disturbances" of the modern age. You know it's 2022 but I don't have, and have never had, a cell phone that connects to the Internet. I don't really stomach what I'm forced to give in exchange for all these facilities, the constant forcing toward more and more speed and responsiveness, to make everyone feel obligated to keep up with everyone else. For me, it is so much, too much, that we are asked to give away in order to always be in touch with everyone for free.

My goal is to keep at bay a toxic world that uses, as its scale and measurement, the audience and the approval of others. I clearly feel how much all this negatively affects my ability to think and create. So the goal for the future; as it has always been, is to maintain a social life but as a "non-toxic" while living in a world now populated almost exclusively by junkies, or the intoxicated as I might say.

First of all, I am interested in preserving what I consider my pace. And I am interested in digging deep inside myself, but also inside my fellow humans, seeking the most sincere and profound matters, without pleasantries, without social impositions, without excessive facilitating technology predisposed to do things for me, without filters and why not, even without using lenses in front of my camera.

Have you ever tried to make your own pinhole camera? Share your results with us on our Community

written by eparrino on 2022-09-15 #culture #people #pinhole #photography #experimentation

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