A project funded by the Arts council and Bristol city council
through Knowle West Media Centre's artists' residency programe

The Sunrise Project book contains 30+ images and information on doing this project
and published on October 12th.
Contact Knowle West Media Centre for signed copies or to buy direct Here

Around Spring solstice in March 2010, over 450 pinhole cameras, designed to take 3-month duration exposures, were given out to residents and employees of South Bristol in the UK. By summer solstice in June, 120 cameras were 'harvested' showing 95 images each of 3 months duration. Many of the remaining cameras went missing, were unused and some remain unfound exposing to this very day.

The cameras were designed to enable people to capture the (apparent) movement of the sun moving across the sky from dawn till dusk, and as it rises from Spring to its full elevation at Summer solstice.

The cameras were made from discarded 'Red Bull' and beer cans as well as small inconspicuous cameras made from old film containers.

They were positioned at participants homes as well as many 'secret' locations overlooking, churches, pubs, trees, parks, signs, crossings, clocks, burnt out cars, below speed cameras, on graves opposite shops etc.

The 120 surviving cameras were 'harvested' on and around June 20th (Summer solstice)

The project was funded by Knowle West Media Centre and instigated by artist in residence and pinhole photographer Justin Quinnell


Flyer for project

Workshop at 'the Park'

Camera positioned below
a Speed camera sign

Positioning cameras at
Knowle West Health Centre

Interpreting the images

The images are all taken over a 3-month period with the lines across the sky showing the sun appearing to travel from East to West and increasing in elevation as the sun rises from spring to its full 'height' at summer solstice on June 20th.

Cloudy days result in a dark line and, when the sun is obscured by cloud for a while, it reappears at another place resulting in a dot or a dash. An exact time and date on the image can be found by matching the pattern of sun and cloud with weather websites. The Wide-angle nature of the cameras (160 degrees) shows the position of the sun close to sunrise and sunset.

Cars parked at
Christ the King Primary School

Sun reflecting over cycle rack
Room 13, Hartcliffe

As well as the sun other effects can be found. White lines in the foreground can be the result of reflections off greenhouses or the windows of buildings or sun trails off cars parked in the same position every day.

Trees allow the sun to pass through until April - May when leaves begin to appear on their branches so preventing the sun passing through. The cameras had to cope with all that the British climate can throw at it. The black (but not unattractive!) dark areas at the top are often water damage. As the image created by the camera is inverted so the top of the image (at the bottom of the can) is the part sitting in a pool of rainwater.

Rozzes house

Knowle West Health Centre

Photographic emulsion contains gelatine which over three months can be a tasty snack for airbourne bacteria and mould. These appear on the images as black blobs or small clumps of dark lines. Other lines and patterns can be caused by: internal reflections, condensation, camera movement and other effects. Many things that happen over the three months can only be visualised by the taker who would know what is in the field of view of the camera. Other effects remain a mystery.

View through tree at 'The Park'

Lakeshore Flats Development

A full selection of images taken on the project is viewable on the
Flickr site here

With thanks to:

Re:work and Re:store, Anne and all at the Bingo club, Pat and all at the Wednesday club, The Foster mums at Knowle West Health Association, All at Silver Screen, The secondary school staff and students at: Merchants Academy, Bridge Learning Campus, Saint Mary Redcliffe, Brislington School and Oasis Academy. The primary school staff and students at Room 13 and Christ the King. The individuals of Knowle West, N'Large, Digi-fish, Green Mapping, Voices of the South, ELM and all the staff and associates of Knowle West Media Centre.