Free pinhole photography talk Monday

Martin Vanners, a Dutch artist, will come to Port Townsend to give a free illustrated talk on pinhole photography. (Martin Vanners)

Martin Vanners, a Dutch artist, will come to Port Townsend to give a free illustrated talk on pinhole photography. (Martin Vanners)

PORT TOWNSEND — Artist Martin Vanners felt something was missing — from his career and his life. He’d been doing digital art for 15 years and had begun deepening his mindfulness practice.

One sleepless night, Vanners ran across an ad for the Pinsta pinhole camera. Two weeks later, one arrived at his door.

“After capturing my second photo with it, everything clicked,” he recalled.

The pinhole camera and process embody all he values: slowing down, focusing on the present moment, finding joy in the process.

Vanners, who lives in Breda, the Netherlands, is coming to Port Townsend to meet up with his friend, pinhole photographer Jen Cohen, to teach a couple of workshops and give a talk. Monday at 4:30 p.m., he’ll give this illustrated lecture at Northwind Art’s Jeanette Best Gallery, 701 Water St.

Admission is free to the public while donations to the nonprofit Northwind Art are welcome.

Information about this and other Northwind Art School and gallery activities can be found at https://northwindart.org.

“I believe the universe gives you what you need when you need it — you just have to listen,” Vanners said of finding his new art form.

Since he dove into pinhole photography last July, Vanners has become a content creator for the U.K.-based Pinsta. His work can be found on Instagram at @pinsta_camera and @martin_vanners.

In his Monday talk, Vanners will discuss how he went from digital photography and animation to the analog world of pinhole camera pictures, and he will illustrate how the shift profoundly impacted his life and artistic vision. He’ll also delve into his creative process, offering insights into how he crafts his pinhole images.

Pinhole camera work, using a tiny hole in a box to collect light rays onto photographic paper or film, is one of the oldest techniques in photography, he noted.

“In an era dominated by high-speed, automated technology and constant movement, pinhole photography offers a magical, almost meditative way to connect with the universe and capture what is,” Vanners said.

Cohen, an avid pinhole photographer in Port Townsend, is the founder of the Raw Art Collective, a group that celebrates artmaking outside the mainstream. She took her first pinhole photo on April 30, 2023 — Worldwide Pinhole Day — using a homemade developer of coffee, vitamin C and washing soda.

“When I saw the result, I was awestruck. The perfectly imperfect image mirrored both myself and the universe,” she recalled, adding, “from then on, I was hooked.”

Cohen now curates Pinsta photos for an Instagram gallery, @Pinstafanatics, and teaches local workshops.

Both of the Northwind Art School workshops she’s offering with Vanners this weekend have sold out.

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