Welcome!

August 19, 2021

Glad you stopped by!

Welcome to the newly launched “Tom Miller – Pinhole Photography” Web site.  It is new; it is primitive at this point; it is the beginning of something that will grow and maybe even blossom over time.  I see this site primarily as an online exhibition space for the best pinhole photographs I’ve created since starting on the lensless photography path in 1996. 

The two main galleries on the site today are “Metropolitan Rivers” and “Minnesota Township Halls.”  Both galleries are current and ongoing projects, using the same techniques, and the same set of pinhole cameras: potato chip tins! 

Pinhole Cameras made from Jay's Potato Chip tins.

Potato Chip Tin Cameras

The cameras have a seven-inch focal length; apertures are 600-micron electron microscope slides, producing an f-stop of f-297.  Each camera holds one 11×14 inch sheet of black and white photographic paper.  The shutters are sheet magnets.  The paper negatives are processed using traditional darkroom chemistry.  The images are then scanned.  Tonal adjustments are made in Photoshop.  The photographs are then printed using archival materials.  The images are intended to be viewed as negatives, as though encountering the scenes while walking on a clear night.

Metropolitan Rivers

The “Metropolitan Rivers” series is comprised of photographs made along rivers in the Twin Cities (Minnesota, U.S.A.) metropolitan area.  The two biggest rivers in the metro are the Mississippi River and the Saint Croix.  The Mississippi flows through the center of Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul.  The Saint Croix is on the eastern edge of the metro area and forms the border between the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The photographs follow certain self-imposed rules.  The river must either flow through some part of the photograph, even if it isn’t visible; or the photo must have been made in proximity to the river.  The camera is usually within a hundred meters of the river.  More of an artist statement about this work will be in future posts.

Minnesota Township Halls

Minnesota Township Halls” is a series of portraits and visual essays of township halls throughout the state.  Townships are the most localized government entities in the state of Minnesota, extremely close to the people that operate and are served by them.  There are more organized townships in Minnesota than any other state.  As the project continues, it will gather portraits from more distant geographical areas in the state, incorporating the full diversity of Minnesota’s local governmental bodies.  And like the metro rivers series, more information about the work will be in future posts.

News and Musings

“News and Musings” is, to use a common term, this site’s blog.  The word “blog” just grates on me for some reason; if I don’t use it again, well, no loss.  Several years ago, I wrote an e-newsletter about pinhole photography called “The Sporadic.”  The name reflected the periodical’s regularity of publication.  It was a mishmash of news, event announcements, and commentary that I thought was helpful to share with folks.  That is what I hope “News and Musings” posts will be.  The page will include pieces on events and groups that I’m involved with, like Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD) and the League of Upper Midwest Pinholers (LUMP).  As mentioned, it will include artist statements and more information about my work.  Opinions and observations will be included, in addition to articles on technical topics: cameras, films, papers, exposure, “how to,” and whatever strikes my fancy.

Come back soon!

If you like pinholey sorts of things, stop in every once in a while.  I hope to put some of my older work on the site, including my “Iconoclast” series of two-slit photos and a collection of run-on panoramas made with Pinhole Blender cameras.   Today I’ll leave you with the first pinhole photo I ever made.  And yes, it was made with a Quaker Oats box.

Photograph of two bell schnickels
Bell Schnickels

By Tom Miller

I am a life-long resident of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, in the United States. I've practiced pinhole photography almost exclusively since 1996. I've exhibited internationally, taught many workshops and classes for all levels of students and have organized several exhibitions of pinhole work. I co-founded, with Bill Erickson, the League of Upper Midwest Pinholers (LUMP) in 2001; the group is still pinholing. Since 2002, I've been a member of the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day coordinating team. Join in! Always the last Sunday in April.

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