(aka - why I dont get asked to do weddings!)

In 1800 Humphrey Davy and Thomas Wedgewood met up at Dowry Square in Bristol to discuss capturing images using light.
214 years on we have:




The worlds first exhibition of
by pinhole photographer
Justin Quinnell
Bear Pit Open Gallery
James Barton Roundabout
(East Tunnel)
Bristol BS1 3LT

Pinhole Residency
May 20th - September 2014


An exhibition of new work by Justin Quinnell, one of the world leaders in pinhole photography, took place throughout the summer of 2014 in the East tunnel of the Bear Pit in the centre of his home town of Bristol, the city where photography was invented 214 years ago.

Phase 1 displayed a series of portraits, the first showing of a brand new technique classed as 'Awfulogrammes', invented by Justin whilst teaching at universities throughout the UK. The portraits, all taken through a small pinhole in an empty aluminium beer can, are of people who use the Bear Pit and work in the area. They were continually replaced with new images as the old ones became 'unloved'!

The ultra close up, wide angle images appear grotesquely distorted, however imaging through a pinhole results in a 'genuine' interpretation of reality rather than the visual distortions within the human eye that we interpret as 'real'. 'Awfulogrammes' may give a similar perspective-view as 'felt' by people with no sight. The unlimited depth of field given by a pinhole, combined with the 160 degree angle of view results in a genuine vision of ourselves we may prefer to avoid.

As well as asking people to reconsider the idea of visual beauty, the presentation of the images in public display on the walls of a busy inner city subway, will have subtle additions relating to advertising and the perfume industry which Justin has significant problems with.

'I was born anosmic, with no sense of smell, so I find the whole industry fairly heinous' says Justin. 'The opportunity of combining elements of advertising and distortion seems to fit in with this area as it lies just a few meters away from the 'asphyxiating labyrinths' of the perfume departments in the surrounding department stores'.

PHASE 2 was an exhibition showing 500,000,000 years of pinhole cameras from the Nautilus (which views the world through a small hole) through various pinhole cameras to the beer can camera which was used for the Awfullogramme images. As well as historical approaches many contemporary cameras are shown including a selection of edible pinhole cameras.

PHASE 3 was a pinhole interpretation of the childrens book 'The Gruffalo' (which seemed like a good idea at the time!)

The exhibition ran opposite 'The Writing on the Wall' images by Lisa Furness in the South tunnel.

Awfulogramme portraits




Jo and Wendy





Rosa 2



'500,000,000 years of pinhole imaging'
62 images of pinhole cameras



,,,the beer can camera and the 'Awfulogramme'

Featuring cameras designed and built by:
Wayne Belger, Jo Babcock, Paolo Gioli, Eric Renner, Ralph Howell, Steve Erwin, Albelardo Morrell Dianne Bos and many more.


"He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws."
Something for the whole family! a bear pit pinhole Awfulogramme adaptation of,,,,,,

'The Awfullo'



The Exhibition
Video of the Awfullogramme exhibition

Me and 'Molly' (before 'The Awfullo!')

Rosa posing with her photo

'Visitors Book!
(the joy of public art!)


'All plod is twat'

'Coming Soon, more stuff!'

'Very Alarm(ing?)'

'This is just creepy'

'Whoops - didnt like this one then!'

'My work plan'


3 kittens in a basket, it wasn't! Fun it was!

Listen here for a fairly bad recording of me being interviewed by Steve Satan on the Radio

(Justin's last Bristol based exhibition, 'Slow Light' featured 6-month duration exposures of Bristol. The 'Awfulogrammes' as he calls them, take just 1/5000th of a second. (In fact 77,760,000,000 Awfulogrammes could be taken in the amount of time a solargraph takes to expose!).

For more information and images please contact:

Or my home page for CV etc

Evolution of the Awfulogramme

I came up with this technique when trying to do pinhole photography workshops at universities throughout the winter of 2013 - 14.

It was so overcast that every day resembled a continual total solar eclipse with exposure times (3 seconds in sunlight) going over 30 seconds. This, combined with the usual hurricane conditions which occur every winter in my beloved country, required drastic indoor pinhole action.

The Awfulogramme was born!

How to take an Awfulogramme
You will need:

A beer can camera loaded with light sensitive photographic paper and access to a darkroom with chemicals etc. (See the video here )

Two hand held 'Manual' flash guns. (As powerful as you can find, 32 guide number is good)

A slave unit (A gizmo which sets off a flashgun when it 'sees' another flash going off)

A victim

Several hands to hold and operate all this stuff!

Equipment required for taking an Awfulogramme

A 'victim' about to be Awfulogrammed!

An Awfulogramme takes advantage of the unlimited depth of field allowed by a pinhole camera, combined with the short exposure (1/5000th of a second) produced by a flashgun. This short exposure reduces all camera shake, allowing the camera to be hand held.

The slow ASA (light sensitivity) of the photographic paper means that to get enough light onto the photo paper, both flash to subject and pinhole to subject distances needs to be as close as possible, ideally no more than 5cm, although this can be increased slightly by using more powerful flashguns.

A slave unit which fits onto one of the flash guns, enables twice the illumination as well as more balanced lighting.

Captured Awfulogramme

Taking the photograph:

1 - Find an indoor area. (This allows the shutter to be removed for a good number of seconds in ambient light before the light sensitive paper gets too affected)

2- Charge up the flashguns and hold them frighteningly close to the subject-victim. The flash guns need to be pointed at the subject rather than the camera. (I find its best to get the subject to hold these in position, which gives them something to do their hands whilst looking scared!)

3- Peel the shutter off the camera then hold it far to close to the subject-victim and set off the flashgun (the one without the slave unit).

4 - When the subject-victim starts recoiling and saying things like "Whoa, that was hot" whist screaming "I can't see!", replace the shutter on the camera then apologise for not suggesting they close their eyes before the exposure.

5 - Develop the paper negative then scan into a scanner to make a positive, messing about with inverse and contrast and levels settings if required.

Me in the Bear Pit intimidating the good folk of Bristol!