Ceramic pinhole cameras

February 2014

A ceramicist and a photographer, what should we be making? Ceramic cameras of course. It's taken three years; hundreds of artworks; dozens of shows and plenty of cake for us to figure this out.

Whilst we may not always catch on immediately, when we do we are thorough and ambitious. It is not enough simply to use current technology encased in ceramic. We strive to produce a ceramic camera which will function both sculpturally and produce an image. This is a substantial undertaking and we have comitted our near future to this enterprise.

We will be documenting our progress here.

Late 2013 we had produced a series of slip cast ceramic camera fronts. The design was stylised and loosely based upon one of Ian's camera illustrations.




Studio shot 2013


Our ceramic camera project has bounded forward at an alarming rate.




Pinhole image on photographic paper 2014




Pinhole image on photograpih paper 2014

The camera works. Focal lengths and pinhole sizes need some serious attendtion, but the principle is effective.

It's here we take a break to visit Macerata in Italy to present the camera to the university there. To read about this (ad)venture) follow the link to our reciprocity page.

The next part of the process puts us into the relatively unknown. The intention to expose directly onto a ceramic surface poses problems:

  • Which light sensitive emulsion to use?
  • Do we need an additional substrate to encourage the emulsion to fix to the ceramic?

Those are our immediate problems.

For the time being we're using liquid light and a polyurethane varnish. We have a series of extremely flat (fired squashed between two kiln shelves) ceramic bisque plates. They're not fired to full vitrication temperatures so they're still extremely porous.

The plates have been varnished and then coated in liquid light (in red light). We have loaded into the ceramic camera, made light safe (again in the darkroom) and exposed. Liquid light is far less sensitive than the polaroid film we have been using so exposure times are much longer. Following developing we are starting to realise the complicated nature of our endeavour.





Four minute exposure (scanned and made +ve)                      Three minute exposure (scanned and made +ve)


More to follow.....