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Photon Detector launches photography podcast

Posted 25 August, 2014 in Artmaking + Op-Ed

Most of the blog here was easy to publish because it was just links to exhibitions and news about equipment. Huge, tedious time suck, but not difficult.

The more interesting stuff was hard. Exploration, non-facts, obstacles… the actual art-as-verb parts. I never finished or published most of what I started writing about that. It’s hard and it never seems to come out quite right and the lexicon we have to talk about it feels clunky, inadequate, and annoying. I let the perfect become the enemy of the hopefully-better-than-nothing and didn’t do much with it.

I’m disinterested in expending more of my life being a human RSS filter for show & equipment news but the artmaking stuff is still compelling to me. I didn’t make perfectionist writing about this nebulous, messy shit work so I’ll flap my face-hole in front of a microphone instead. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be something.

I’d like this to be a conversation. Comments, questions, thoughts, topic requests, whatever, please get in touch: nicolai at photon detector dot com.

Check out the Photon Detector podcast

Thanks to the just-launched Photograper Stories podcast for inspiring me to finally get off my ass and do it.

New photo podcast launched: Photographer Stories

Posted 21 August, 2014 in Interviews + Op-Ed

Matthew Robert Joseph (aka fotodudenz on Flickr) has just launched Photographer Stories Podcast—"Stories by Photographers for Photographers or just about anyone really". It’s a conversational interview format and is off to a great start so far. Check it out!

Main site,
Subscribe in iTunes
Listen on Stitcher

Katie Cookie in “Arrangements in Black and Grey” Show at Fox Talbot Museum

Posted 10 May, 2013 in Exhibitions + Pinhole

Photon Detector favorite Katie Cooke is showing some of her pinhole work at the Fox Talbot Museum:

Visit our upper gallery to see our current photography exhibition. ‘Arrangements in Black and Grey’ invites you to explore the relevance of black and white photography in the 21st century through a collection of beautiful images from six British artists, Anthony Jones, Deborah Parkin, Trevor Ashby, Nettie Edwards, Mark Voce and Katie Cooke.

Each artist approaches and uses monochrome differently, from the patient process of using a pinhole camera to producing work with only an iPhone to hand, there is more to these photographs than meets the eye.

The fine language of black and white focuses on texture, line and shape. By taking away the distraction of colour we are forced to look at the picture in a different way. The importance of light moves into the foreground and we start to understand the world in subtle tones rather than bold colour.

Show runs 12 April – 22 October, 2013 at the Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock, England

A Five Minute Introduction to Pinhole Photography

Posted 31 March, 2012 in Pinhole

By Nancy Breslin (via Katie Cooke)

Katie Cooke’s "Balancing Act" pinhole show, Edinburgh

Posted 23 June, 2010 in Exhibitions + Pinhole

Relentlessly awesome photographer Katie Cooke‘s Balancing Act series of pinhole photographs opens 3 July, 2010 at Axolotl, Edinburgh, Scotland, and runs for the month.

Cooke writes, “This is a show of my long exposure self portrait pinhole photographs, mostly from the Balancing Act series that I made between 2006 and 2007, exploring the gain, loss, and regain of my ability to stand.”

Two prints from this series are hanging in my home, and they’re beautiful. Go see them in person if you can.

You can see more of her work at her web site,, and here on Flickr.

Spring ‘Roid Week 2010 starts this Monday, May 3!

Posted 30 April, 2010 in Random

It’s almost that time again! Polaroid Week Spring 2010 will be May 3–7. Participating is easy: make some pictures on any instant film and post them to the ‘Roid Week 2010 group on Flickr (free accounts work).

Don’t be scared off now that Polaroid means horrendously expensive, you can play on the cheap: Fuji still makes really nice peel-apart instant film in both color and black and white that are cheaper than Polaroid was when it was in production. If you need a camera, you can grab a Holga-like, zone focus Polaroid Super Shooter or Super Shooter Plus on eBay for under 10 bucks, or a rangefinder-focused Automatic 100 [pic] or Automatic 250 [pic] for $25–30. Want integral film (the kind the spits out the front of the camera)? Check out Fuji Instax!

Video how-to: Polaroid Spectra double exposures

Posted 16 March, 2010 in Technique + Videos

Works on all Spectra cameras, no self-timer required!

Copal 0 and 1 shutter handling tips

Posted 1 December, 2009 in Kit/Equipment

Swiss camera manufacturer Alpa says to not change the shutter speed after cocking the shutter on Copal 0 and 1 size shutters.

From their newsletter:

Back in analog times everything was a little bit easier. Photographers were photographers and the number of actuations of the shutters low. Now in the digital times the number of actuations has increased dramatically. This might be the reason why some restrictions become more obvious. Copal avoided to mention that it is a bad idea to change the time ring after cocking the shutter [emphasis added]! To be clear: If a photographer constantly changes the times after cocking the shutter (especially times around 1/30 sec) he or she will destroy the shutter sooner or later. One can observe a golden shiny covering of the aperture blades from the abrasion of copper.

In order to avoid expensive repairs, please check for proper handling!

Steve Jobs on focus

Posted 16 November, 2009 in Artmaking

Here’s something to think about when you have limited time for art:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.

—Steve Jobs

$25,000 Holga

Posted 22 October, 2009 in Camera Hacking & DIY

Holga-Cam of the Apocalypse by RoFi Mike.

Made without any cutting, the “Holga-Cam of the Apocalypse” is the product of my love for low-tech experimentation and obsession with cutting edge technology. There are more descriptions and photos of the camera itself in this set, and photos from the camera in the Holgapocalyptiphotos set.

The camera is built from:
1 – Holga 120N camera body (retail: $25)
1 – Phase One P25 Digital Back (retail: $24,000)
1 – Horseman lens board (thus the current name)
1 – Foot of Black Gaff Tape

You may ask yourself “why?” That is the wrong thing to ask.

Pictures taken with the camera are here.