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Daily Picture Show

Pinhole Americana

Those who lament the price of cameras really have no excuse. Pinhole cameras can be made for practically nothing. They're the simplest of cameras, usually consisting of a box with a single minuscule hole, photographic paper and no lens. Former Rocky Mountain News photographer Wes Pope, for example, made his out of used soda cans.

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This collection, which can be found on his website, has been in progress since 1998. It takes us across historic Route 66, on a tour of sundry roadside Americana. There's even a portrait of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Pope told me, "Roy looked at my soda can cameras and declared, 'I ain't never hear that one before.' Dale hit him in the arm and said, 'He's probably telling you the truth.' And the couple agreed to meet me in the parking lot to sit for a portrait. Roy passed away a few weeks later and Dale a year after that."

"I like the distortion created by the curved film inside the can," Pope says. Perhaps this is the best way to photograph a road trip. The images are blurry and distorted, just like memories, and the sequence conveys something like the America of our dreams.

Learn how to make your own pinhole camera here.


Pope's pinholes

Images (c) copyright Wes Pope.