The Global Art Project of Pinhole Solargraphy

Solargraphy at Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada

Solography at Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada

I can’t remember how I originally came across, but I knew I had seen these images somewhere before. They were so cool and dreamy looking, and had that awesome, signature pinhole camera look. Little did I know that there was a whole project behind collecting these kinds of images from all over the world called the “The Global Art Project of Pinhole Solargraphy“.

Pinhole Camera for Photo #2

Pinhole Camera for Photo #2

The project is being run by Tarja Trygg and the the goal of the project is to create pinhole solargraphs all over the world and build a World Map of Solargraphs. AWEEEEESOMMEEE! :)

There’s shots from all over the world, and very few from Canada. Surprisingly enough, there was none anywhere near central Canada/USA, so I really wanted to take a few images of my own to contribute to the project.

There are instructions on how to make your own camera, but better yet, if you wanted, Tarja will send you some cameras and save you the hassle of making them yourself.

Solargraphy shot #2

Solography shot #2

The coolest part of the image is the huge thick band of light streaking across the sky. This is from the sun streaking across the sky slowly raising or lowering in its relative position over the weeks and months. It kind of reminds me of tracks of data floating in the sky, or some sort of weird solar data defragging.

The best time to start/stop the exposures is at each equinox, so for this first experiment, I set up the cameras mid November, and ended a few days after the winter solstice (Dec 21st) where the sun would be at its lowest.

I loved how the top image turned out, and though the 2nd image is a little bland, it’s still cool. So, after taking these cameras down, and scanning them in, I set up the two remaining cameras, and will be exposing them for 6 months, for pick up around the beginning of July 2012 :)

Pinhole Setup for 6-Month Exposure!

Pinhole Setup for 6-Month Exposure!

One thing I always loved about shooting film was the anticipation of waiting a few days to see what you’re going to get. When I was shooting BMX photos on slide film back in the day, I’d drop off a roll or two every Monday, and it was like a little mini Christmas every week.

There would inevitably be a lot of disappointment, mixed with extreme happiness when I got an awesome shot or two. Sometimes that never happened, and you threw an entire roll of 36 slides in the trash, but that’s all part of the learning process.

These pinhole cameras are kind of taking that patience and anticipation to a new level. I don’t think I’ve ever waited 6 months for 2 photos, but basing it on the quick 1-month experiments above, I think and hope it’ll be worth it :)

[UPDATE: June 14th, 2012] It’s worth it! Check out the 6-month shots below:

Six Month Solargraphy Exposure

Six Month Solargraphy Exposure 2

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to ask!




  1. David says:

    lucky you ! 2 successful pictures with 2 solarcams, that s a 100% ! I’m still waiting for the next 21st june to check my cameras, but already 40% of them are gone….. I live in London, so it s pretty hard to find a nice and safe spot for 6 months….
    By the way, did you use film or photopaper ? What s the size of the hole ? I saw values between .14 and 2mm, so it s been confusing for me :(
    Cheers and keep up the good work !


    • kgartner says:

      I was lucky and Tryg sent me 2 cameras that were pre-made so I didn’t have to make them myself. She used Photo paper, and as for the hole, i’m not sur ehow small it was. I’m guessing .14mm. It was extremely small. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the 6 month exposures turn out :)

  2. Jason Cobill says:

    Soooooo great, Kert. Amazing project. Love all the subtle distortions and soft light from stretching the shot over months.