“Nothing beats real film grain. In the end it’s of course the image that matters and I just hope the image radiates the love which it was made with.”
Gregor Servais is a Dutch photographer specialized in portrait and travel photography. He’s previously been featured on “Top Photography Films”: Tickling The Eye. In this follow-up interview he talks about his passion for pinhole photography.
Interview with Gregor Servais
Gregor, why did you start with pinhole photography?
My house had a piece of white wall left which would be a great place for a large landscape photo. I figured I needed a nice view on that wall. That idea came together with a weird urge to do something very different from my usual photography. So I modified an old AgfaClack and of I went. That part of my wall that could do with a view now shows a poster from a Richard Avedon exhibition: “Davina with Elephants”. That’s not bad for a view either. The pinholephotos are still work in progress.
Is there anything in particular that you want to say with your pictures? And in other words: What is it that a photograph can say at all?
I am still trying to photograph the perfect view. One that would never bore me. I want my pinholephotos to take me into an other world.
Is there anything that pinhole photography has taught you about photography in general?
At first I tought it was quite easy. I just point my pinhole at the landscape, in my case seascapes and that’s it But I quickly found out that even with exposure-times ranging from 2 seconds till 30 it still matters at which moment you open the shutter. And also in post production there are limitless options, so to have an idea of what it is that you pursue is really necessary.
Can you recall any special moment shooting pinhole pictures?
So far I made all my pinhole photos at the beach. It’s a great place to go to. Every time is different, and light and skies can change quickly. One time I saw a seal. That’s quite rare at my part of the beach. But most of the time there is hardly anybody. I am still waiting for that mermaid to pose patiently for me.
Exposure-times can be long, so patience is needed… (laughs)
What kind of equipment (camera etc.) and photographic supplies do you use?
I recently bought a Zero handmade 6×9 pinhole camera. The aperture is 235. It gives nice clean negatives. I use colour film. Depending of what my store has in stock it’s usually Kodak Ektar100, or Fuji pro400H. Both fine films. I measure the light with a minolta lightmeter and sometimes I use an app to calculate my exposure time. (pinhole camera design calculator from Xsonus)
What’s your favorite Internet resource about pinhole photography?
Twitter! Everyday new photos and stories from different people all over the world.
Which advice would you give to someone getting started with pinhole photography?
Shoot on film. And go crazy!
Last but not least, let’s switch roles: Which question would you have liked to be asked in this interview about your work that I didn’t ask? Please feel free to add it – as well as the answer.
Q: Why would anybody in these days of instagram and all kinds of software that simulate pinhole photography bother with a real pinhole camera?
A: Nothing beats real filmgrain in my experience. In the end it’s of course the image that matters and I just hope the image radiates the love which it was made with.