Pinhole cameras have been on my ever growing list of things to experiment for a while now, ever since I came across Club Soda’s ‘Outing with a pinhole camera‘ post. It’s jumped back up close to the top of my list once again after coming across the inspiring Trashcam Project.
The Trashcam Project is an initiative developed by Christoph Blaschke, Mirko Derpmann, Scholz & Friends Berlin and the Hamburg sanitation department. Collaborating with Hamurg-based photographer Matthias Hewing, they have transformed 1.1 liter dumpsters into giant pinhole cameras. The result – a series of incredible black and white photos of the binmen’s favourite places, displaying the beauty of Hamburg. Not only are the photographs incredible but the industrial rubbish containers are a masterpiece in themselves as well!
The team drilled a small hole in front of each container and hung large sheets of photographic paper inside to capture the scene. The containers were then transported to the specific locations around the city using light-tight vans. The images took between six minutes to an hour to imprint depending on the light conditions of the location. According to their Flickr page, in bright sunshine the 106x80cm sheet of photo paper needs 5-6 minutes to be properly exposed.
What impressed me the most about this project was that the artistic vision was lead by the binmen. Hewing provided professional advice and assisted with the development of the large-scale photographs. This goes to show that great ideas & creativity is not exclusive to designers, artists, photographers and other people operating in the creative field. Creativity can pop-up in the most unlikely places and it can provide an interesting opportunity for collaboration between people working in completely different disciplines.
This is binman Hans-Peter Strahl taking a picture of the church in Hamburg Altenwerder with his pinhole dumpster. Binmen start their tour very early, this was at seven in the morning and he was already up and working a few hours. so it comes in handy that taking trashcam pictures is mostly waiting.
This is one from the archives. The first trashcam picture they made just to find out if it was possible. So this is not Hamburg but Berlin. They were so afraid the bin would bend and light would leak in that they didn´t dare to move it more than a few metres away from our office. It was taken on four sheets of Rollei Vintage paper they glued together to get the giant format. Exposure is about 4 minutes.
The City Hall in Hamburg photographed with a garbage container by garbageman Michael Pfohlmann, Christoph Blaschke and Mirko Derpmann. Shot on a 106×80 cm sheet of ilford multigrade with six minutes exposure time.
The street “Große Freiheit” in Hamburg seen from Beatles Platz on the Reeperbahn photographed by garbageman Max Soller, Christoph Blaschke and Mirko Derpmann. Shot on a 106×80 cm sheet of ilford multigrade with 40 minutes exposure time.
The Planetarium in Hamburg photographed by Bernd Leguttky, Christoph Blaschke and Mirko Derpmann. Shot on a 106×80 cm sheet of ilford multigrade with 40 minutes exposure time. Unfortunately the exposure turned out to be far from perfect and there seems to be a little leak in the top part of the bin. If you look closely you can see the photographer sitting in front of the building.
The old church in Hamburg Altenwerder photographed by Hans-Peter Strahl, Christoph Blaschke and Mirko Derpmann. Shot on a 106×80 cm sheet of ilford multigrade with 45 minutes exposure time. The church is now standing in the middle of an industrial agglomeration, the parish has vanished. As you can see it is not easy to find out where the frame ends.
All image captions are from Trashcam Project’s photostream.