Spotlight #7 – Mark McCreary II

Mark lives in Hawaii and shoots the RSS6x12, 6×6 , 6x6F and 35R. He shares his thoughts and images on his pinhole photography.

Hi Mark, can you tell us why you shoot pinhole rather than regular
lensed photos?

It probably sounds silly, but I like the challenge of pinhole over regular lensed photos. The first time I saw a well made pinhole photo I was floored by how a lensless camera could take such an interesting photograph. I try to use a mental preview to imagine what the camera will give me. Of course, sometimes I am wrong or surprised by the results which is fun to me.  I also like how I can take long exposures to change an aspect of the scene.

 I feel that trying pinhole photography is an excellent learning experience for a photography journey. It has taught me a lot about reciprocity and even the mechanics of photography, that has improved all my photography. A mentor I found online years ago greatly encouraged me to make my own pinhole. They sent me brass shims and some basic plans to make my own pinhole. Because I didn’t have access to more than an electric rotary tool, glue and some screwdrivers, I decided to hack apart a Holga 120N camera I had lying around and made a camera with some basic research. After learning from my mistakes, I tried again with a RealitySoSubtle professionally laser premade pinhole. All that research taught me what made a good pinhole for my needs. I also learned about exposure circles, patience and a bit of camera design math.  That camera didn’t survive a move across my country, but the experience was worth it.   

Can you tell us about your pinhole photography? What do you look for?
What formats do you like? What film stocks do you prefer?

I don’t know what I can tell you about my photography except that I have been all over the place with my own journey. Since discovering pinhole photography about fourteen years ago, it has been narrowing down to my primary motivator and tool when making photographs. I used to look for movement like waterfalls because it seems like a go to thing in pinhole. Now I use pinhole like I would nearly any camera. I take it on holidays, to birthday parties, shopping, hikes, and even work. Lately I have been experimenting with leaving my camera incognito to capture people interacting in a scene. Their blurred forms leave them anonymous. If I do manage to catch a detailed face, I won’t share. I’m uncomfortable in front of the camera myself unless I am being a blur.

As for format, I really like medium format. Most pinhole cameras seem to be 6×6, but when possible I gravitate towards rectangular formats like 6×4,5, 6×9, 6×12 and so forth. My ideal camera would a 6×4,5 that is more easy to use landscape than portrait. I have tried 135/35mm, but I prefer the resolution of medium format, but the RSS35R has shown me there is potential in 35mm. I have wanted to try large format like 5×7 or 8×10, but it is a huge leap in materials to process and share my results. 

As for film stock, color is so much fun to use. I was a big fan of Kodak Ektar or Portra and even had a phase of E6 slide film like Velvia 50 before the prices were too much for my every day budget. I started developing my own B&W around 5 years ago and that really helps me keep going. To remain budget friendly I use a lot of Fomapan 100 & Kentmere 100 film, but when I have a little extra money, I like Ilford FP4 Plus, Delta 100 and Acros II. 

You use the RSS 6×12 , RSS 6×6, 6x6F and RSS35R to shoot these photos. Can
you talk a little about your experience with these cameras. Do you use
filters when shooting? Do you have a favourite
photo and why?

Yes, the RSS 6×12 and 6x6F were favorites of mine that have had accidents in the field (think falling hard on lava rock), but I would like to replace them sometime. The curve plane and offset pinholes of the 6×12 made for a lot of interesting results.  I did try some infrared filter photography with the 6x6F, but I don’t remember using too many filters otherwise. Spots on a filter are more dramatic on a pinhole exposure than a lensed camera in my experience. I am still learning the RSS35R and how best to use it.


So far it is a nice pocket camera for my workbag and gives the minimalist feel. I would say a camera not mentioned but in high use is my RSS6x6. With two pinholes and narrow profile, it has found itself in my camera bag or sling often. I usually set it up for indoor photography with some easy reciprocity film like Acros to photography my time at the library, museums, and restaurants. 

Do I have a favorite photograph? Isn’t that like asking someone if they have a favorite child? The other photos might get jealous. 

RealitySoSubtle 6×12 with Ektar 100 on a rainy World Wide Pinhole Day. I like how the dash, rain drops and the street are all in equal focus. I was trying to fill my time waiting for a break in the rain. 

 RealitySoSubtle 6×12 with Delta 100. A cheesy water based picture, but I love it nothing the less. I like the light, the pier and the gentle blur of the surf. I live on an island and water is everywhere. 

Thanks Mark! You can find more of Mark’s work on instagram here: @threeeyedmonster

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