Interview with

Johanna Moore

February 14, 2016/1 Comment/in Pinholistas /by admin

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

My name is Johanna Moore. I have lived in many states in New England (US) and, while I have lived most of my life in Maine, I have spent some important times in Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Tell us a little about the type of pinhole photography you enjoy.

When it comes to pinhole photography, I am an analogue purist. I use film and paper negatives. Holgas, Polaroid/Fujiroids. Altoid tin cameras. I have a Sharan cardboard camera that I use, as well as tin can cameras I have built. I love using Harman Direct Positive paper because of the slow speed of the paper. I use a foam core pinhole camera I built for some 8 x 10 film holders I found at an antique shop. With pinhole photography the possibilities are endless.

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual?

I recently completed a major project along the length of the Kennebec River in Maine where I installed 120 pinhole cameras for long exposure solargraphs.

Dresden Bridge

Dresden Bridge

Do you use off the shelf cameras, home-made or a mix?

I totally use a mix. Some people get excited about a new App they buy, I get excited about a new camera to build or buy. Admin’s note, yet another sufferer of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S). It’s a terrible affliction that can strike even the most hard-hearted at the most unexpected time.

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

I love using my Pinholaroid. I have to admit that I borrowed it from my sister and never gave it back. The body she made for it is more for close-ups, and I made some beautiful long exposure images of flowers with it. I am working on an interchangeable “lens” to do more wide angle shots with it because I find myself taking it with me into the field more often than I did in the past. It helps that I rigged up a wooden form that I can slip the camera into and have it screwed down to my tripod. Admin’s note, there is something really stunning about Pinholaroid images…I think it is the way the film reacts to longer exposure, tending towards a blue cast in my experience (which works perfectly with Johanna’s flower images).



How long have you shot pinhole?

I took my first pinhole images back in 1988. I had seen a body of work an acquaintance produced in Boston using SX-70 film and a pinhole camera. I produced a series of failed images with the first camera I built for the SX-70 film and then I gave up on Pinhole cameras for about 12 years.

Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

In photography I am not interested in creating the perfect clear, in-focus, well-planned image that some photographers seek to achieve. I am interested in capturing moments of light, ethereal images, and something which allows the viewer to draw from their own personal experiences to make their own conclusions about what they are looking at. Pinhole photography gives me that opportunity to produce that imagery. I gave up on the medium in 1988, then, in 2000, after I used my sister’s Polaroid pinhole camera, I got hooked once again and have never looked back.

Greenpoint Ferns

Greenpoint Ferns

You’ve given us a few images to share, tell us about them.

Hewnoaks 2- When I embarked on my Kennebec River solargraph project in 2014, I left the success and failure of the 120 cameras up to chance. I had no idea if the project would work, or if any of the pinholes I made were accurate. It took two months to install the cameras along the river. I was accepted into an artist residency program on Kezar Lake in Lovell. I stayed there two weeks to work and took advantage of being there to test some of the cameras I built. This image is a two week exposure and was made using Oriental Seagull photo paper.

Bergamot- one of my early experiments with the Pinholaroid. I produced this series of botanicals indoors on bright overcast days. The exposure times were any where from 20 minutes to an hour. Admin’s note, I simply love this image, the tones are stunning…I must make another Pinholaroid.

Dresden Bridge- 134 day pinhole exposure along the Kennebec River.

Bog 2014- The first experiment I made using Solargraphy. Six week exposure

The Great Carrying Place- 129 day Solargraph. The Carrying Place is along the Kennebec River where Benedict Arnold and his soldiers left the river to carry their bateaux over the mountains during their march on Quebec during the American Revolutionary War. This portage site may be significant for the Europeans who used it for their own ill-conceived ideas. It is more significant to the Native Americans who used it for centuries before the arrival of the foreigners who would forever change their way of life.

Greenpoint Ferns- I also like using my 120 Holga pinhole camera. I first used a Holga that I retrofitted with a pinhole then upgraded to a ready-made pinhole from Holga. When I go into the field I often photograph favourite places. Greenpoint is a Maine Wildlife Management Area along the Kennebec River at Merrymeeting Bay. Even in the heat of summer I can go here to find respite in the cool shade among the ferns.

Do you shoot individual images or do you work within themes or on projects?

All of the above. While I may load a bunch of paper into my film holders and go out to shoot for a day, I won’t hesitate to work on a single idea based on a theme or project. The Kennebec River project is the perfect case in point. I experimented with Solargraphy in the beaver bog in my back yard, then expanded the experiment to an historic site in the neighbouring town. When I got some successful imagery from that, I ended up expanding the idea to the entire stretch of the Kennebec River. It was a moving experience. I explored places that I would never have seen had I not embarked on the project. I learned so much about a major force of nature in my own back yard.

Hewn Oaks 2

Hewnoaks 2

Have you ever exhibited your work?

I have exhibited my pinhole work through a Pop-up exhibit with Portland Pinhole and Plastic Camera group back in 2009 and then most recently I exhibited the body of solargraphs I produced along the Kennebec River through the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts in Portland.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

In full disclosure this artist is my friend. That said, I love everything that Massachusetts photographer Dennis Stein produces. Pinhole and Digital.  Admin’s note, Dennis’ work is wonderful, although he seems to be focussing on iPhoneography at the moment (

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

I use my iPhone to shoot everyday images and work I post on social media.



Assuming you do shoot other styles, do you prefer pinhole and if so, why?

I prefer pinhole photography because it is about time. Taking time, experiencing time. Looking at scenery and taking the time to examine what you are about to shoot. With digital you can take a zillion shots an edit later. That’s not the same with pinhole photography. Admin’s note, this is a philosophy close to my own. Although I do use digital (actually increasingly so) for my lens-based work there is something magical about the time it takes to make a pinhole image.

Finally, where can people see your work, do you have a website?

Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your work with

As usual, this work is the copyright of the contributing photography, in this case Johanna. Please respect this.

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