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Shoreline Dreams: The Pinhole Work of Ky Lewis

After Brandt! - Holga WPC - Beach 0809
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In my searches for interesting pinhole photography, I came across the dreamy beach images by Ky Lewis. They recall summers long past when you were a kid and everything is a blur yet cemented into your memory and those few days spent at the beach, when days were long and everything is new, stands out forever. I asked Ky to share some thoughts about her process and inspiration.

Without Lenses: Where are you located?
Ky Lewis: I live in South London with my husband and my three girls, I moved to London 25 years ago to go to college and never left, I have lived North and South of the River Thames. I was born in Liverpool but was raised the opposite end of the country on an Island in the Thames Estuary. It seems I have never lost my links with the Estuary and my connection is maintained by the River.

WL: How long have you been doing Pinhole work?
KL: I first got interested in pinholes way back in the 80’s when at college but it was a medium that stayed on the back burner until about four years ago when I made a matchbox pinhole and revitalised my love for the simple things in life. Since then I have made a number of cameras, one of which was a cashew nut can cam with five pinholes, it was this curved film plane and the mixing and distortions that I came to love. One image using this cam appears in The Pinhole Camera by Brian Krummel.

Last year I began using a PinholeBlender 120 and very recently the Pinhole Blender mini 35, more inconspicuous and with a single pinhole. It is with this camera that I have made the series of beach images. It has managed to capture a sense of my childhood on the beach.

Sharing the Moment -Pinhole Blender Mini 35 Muses - Pinhole Blender Mini 35Drawn to the Edge - Pinhole Blender Mini 35Empty Alone - Pinhole Blender Mini 35
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WL: What cameras do you use?
KL: In order of most use the Pinhole Blenders, Holga WPC120, Cashewnutcancam, Diana+, Pinholga, Zero612b and an armful of pots and cans for solargraphs. I also have my matchboxes and my recently constructed P-Sharan, which is going through some tests at the moment.

My favourite cameras at the moment are the Blenders especially the 35 as it’s portable, I also like the option of the zone plate, though I have yet to explore that more. They are robust and I only need be concerned about the images I make and not so much about the camera.

Holga WPC - Beach 0809
Sirens - Holga WPC - Beach 0809
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WL: What’s Your Favorite Subject to Photograph?
KL: My heart is drawn toward the beach or to any shoreline in fact. The connection between land and water, stillness and movement. There has to be some element or a gut reaction to the place. Old boat yards and ancient buildings are also a favourite especially when close to water. My use of fleeting figures in this setting is becoming increasingly important to me.

WL: In your beach series, there are figures, are these family or people you find? If family, do they help come up with ideas for how to move or pose?
KL: The figures in this series are my children, They are captured moments and for the most part are not staged. Cooperation is not high on their list and that’s fine else it would lose the moment. I want to capture something that will become a good memory for them. Looking back through photos of my childhood they do not seem posed and are more precious for that. I wait and only make the ‘shot’ when the gut feeling is right. Sometimes I will ask them to pause a moment but that is usually only a second or so more anyway.

I am still continuing with this series for the moment but the focus is slowly moving to capturing others, either with a connection to water as the Thames or the constant stream of human traffic that is hard to avoid in London, waterways of people in motion.

WL: What’s your next series?
KL: New work will revisit something I did as an illustration project twenty years ago, a peregrination in Pinhole!