My Birdhouse Pinhole Camera


When we come back from a long trip, we bring with us a strange feeling about the things we’ve seen, and this lasts for a while. The places, now memories, visit our minds in the form of pictures. I wished to narrate this feeling – not a real trip but its memory. This is the story of how I turned a wooden birdhouse into a Pinhole camera.

Credits: francescco

I chose to employ the quintessential traveller, a bird, to illustrate this idea of travel memories. A migrant whose habit is to always follow the summer, a bird is compelled to face long, hard trips around the world, always flying away from the winter. Every year. Again and again..

The Birdhouse Camera

I used 120mm film, in order to load it while in open space and take more shoots. To forward the film I used two old keys. The film was rolled-up the stem and blocked by the map. The head of the key stuck out the top of the birdhouse, so I could manage them. I equipped the birdhouse with a wooden shutter attached to a little rope that I used as a remote control. A counter-wall fixed the shutter in position and gave a round shape to each photo – I made it like this to suggest the idea that the shot is taken from the inside of the camera.

Credits: francescco

The Journey

Then, I took the birdhouse with me in search of places similar to the places a bird could encounter, observe and stop in during its trip. Roofs, lake piers, woods, rivers, foliage and branches, wheat, turned-over soil… Sometimes I climbed on my city’s roofs and on several trees, in order to have a bird’s eye view; other times I just put the birdhouse on the soil, like when the bird lands to eat something or relax for a moment. I exposed the film for only 4 to 20 seconds, so the animals I met didn’t impress the film. Only a gaggle of ducks did me the favor and froze for a while, posing, and I was able to photograph them – I like to think that they understood and appreciated my work.

Credits: francescco

The Image

The stenopeic soft focus image, combined with the unreal distance that the round shape imposes on each photo, sharpen the memory-like feeling I was looking for. The memories of a seasonal migration, a simple and pure adventure that repeats itself from year to year, throughout history. Not a trip report, but the images that a bird, tired, can remember of its long odyssey while dreamingly staring out of its nest.

Credits: francescco

written by francescco on 2011-04-18 #lifestyle #pinhole #story #camera #bird #photography #birdhouse #journey #world-day #pinhole-masters-and-magic


  1. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    Very nice

  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    great idea!

  3. tattso
    tattso ·

    this is fantastic!

  4. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    lovely birdhouse!

  5. lakandula
    lakandula ·

    Pure analogue wonder! Congrats!

  6. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    So amazing....<:)

  7. dogma
    dogma ·

    Very Very nice :)

  8. kylewis
    kylewis ·

    Francesco it is a thing of beauty, love the concept and the images. I may well have to make a version of my own so I can secretly put it up at my allotment! Wonderful!

  9. nicx
    nicx ·


  10. ooooooooo
    ooooooooo ·

    What a crazy idea! luv it!

  11. polka-dot
    polka-dot ·

    sweet tweet!

  12. softprops
    softprops ·

    Amazing idea!

  13. rhemaangel
    rhemaangel ·

    Love it! I'm gonna have to make one for myself. hehehe.

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