Friday, July 16, 2010


Oneiro ©2009-10, 5 x 4.75 x 3.5 inches (closed). Brass, copper, found winding knob, Arches cover paper, photos, tin can. Bound with a variation of wire edge binding. Techniques include soldering, etching, pinhole photography. The cover of this book is a pinhole camera that takes photos of dreams. The book attached to the camera contains ten photos of my dreams. The book/camera was inspired by a dream. See more photos of Oneiro on my web site.

Above is the back of the camera. The right hand page is a panel I made to protect the pages with photos on them from the nuts on the camera.

I finished the camera by the end of 2009. Starting in January I took 43 photos over the course of months. I used photo paper as the negative. Photo paper is much less sensitive to light than film, so each exposure was 3 to 5 minutes. Then I had to take the camera into my bathroom/darkroom and unload it under a red safelight and process the negative in black and white chemicals. The paper negative was squeegeed and allowed to dry, then scanned and inverted in Photoshop.

To reload the camera I cut the paper to size, pre-flashed it and then put it in the camera. Pre-flashing involves exposing the photo paper to a brief burst of light. For technical reasons this enhances the exposure on pinhole photos.

After I had ten photos I was happy with, I had them printed. Finally I began assembling the book. Most of my projects produce another item on my "I'll never do that again" list. For Oneiro it was taking the photos using photo paper as the negative. It was too long of a process for me. I had lots of ideas for photos, but ran out of patience with the expose/develop/dry/scan/evaluate routine.

Do I read my "I'll never do that again" list before starting a new project? No! Absolutely no. If I did I would never start another new project. I'm often optimistic that I have more skills now and will be able to complete whatever I have in mind.

"I watch them walk away." ©2010 A photo of a dream, taken with Oneiro.
I must confess, a few of the photos were put together with Photoshop. although all the parts were photographed with Oneiro. The one above was originally a photo taken by my son. It was a wonderful shot, full of meaning in the context of dreams, but the focus was bad. I thought soft focus wouldn't matter for my purpose, so I split the photo into four quadrants and printed it on four pieces of 8.5 x 11 paper. Then I taped the four quadrants together and photographed it set up on my work table in a curve. I really like it, and even like the lines made by joining the pieces of paper. I had originally planned to Photoshop them out, but decided to let them stand.

See more photos of Oneiro, and the photos I took with the camera on my web site.