Gonzo – Matchbox Photography

Gonzo – Matchbox Photography

By Kaymir Stark

Photography made a huge transition since the first camera. Back in the day taking one photo could easily take minutes. There is still a special kind of breed out there who manages to take it that easy. They go by the name of pinhole photographers, their tools of the trade are homemade cameras made of pure love. Living in the era of portability and convenience and you like your camera to fit in your pocket? Say hello to matchbox photography. We were amazed by the idea that there are still people out there who take the effort to make their own cameras, and then wait another 15 minutes for the film to expose. Gonzo his photos are amazing so the logical next step was to do an interview.

“It does look weird. They look and stare but in the lovely paranoid age we live in most people’s thoughts seem to go: Bomb?”

Gonzo - River Thames
Gonzo – River Thames

Who is Gonzo and where are you from?

I`m an Art and Photography teacher from the U.K.

Matchbox pinhole photography is not a point and shoot style, what is that little something that makes it so interesting to do?

Unpredictability is the joy of pinholing. In your head you see what you want and the end result is always slightly different to that vision. Some of the best images are created by complete accident and some of the best planned ones are a complete mess.

pinhole photography by Gonzo
pinhole photography by Gonzo

How many rolls of film did you have to waste before your grasshopper DIY skills reached Mr. Miyagi status?

I got through about 5 or 6 rolls with either adjustments to the cameras or starting from scratch between each one. Catching flys with chopsticks was easy after that.

Gonzo - Viaduct Central Park
Gonzo – Viaduct Central Park

Looking at your portfolio we only come across photos taken with homemade cameras. Pre-fab just doesn’t do it for you?

I have digi cameras and they serve their purpose but with homemade cameras the satisfaction of creating an image you are pleased with far surpasses anything digital can do for me. Anyone with the same digital camera as you can produce an identical image. Homemade is a unique creation to you and the camera; it can be on a par with drawing or painting.

'Pond'  - Pinhole photography by Gonzo
‘Pond’ – Pinhole photography by Gonzo

It seems like matchbox (and pinhole in general) is driven on trial and error. Did you ever reach a point that you were like okay for now on I am going digital?

It didnt take too long to get the hang of using pinhole cameras. The main frustration to begin with is high street lab technicians. Forget that and scan the negatives yourself. In that respect digital has its place for editing and finishing the images just as you want them.

'tube' - Pinhole photography by Gonzo
‘tube’ – Pinhole photography by Gonzo

Standing for 3 minutes next to a matchbox on a tripod out on the streets could look weird. When out shooting do curious people come up to you?

It does look weird. They look and stare but in the lovely paranoid age we live in most people’s thoughts seem to go: Bomb? Old people like to ask questions but in London not many people want to talk to strangers.

Do you scout your locations and sceneries beforehand or do you always have your trusty matchbox by your side?
These days I always seem to have a pinhole camera of some sort loaded and in my bag. Most of the places in my flickr pages I already know though, so i return there to try to better previous shots.

Matchbox Photography by Gonzo
Matchbox Photography by Gonzo

In today’s 24 hours economy and where the pace of life makes you put 48 hours in a day, did you ever find yourself running late for appointments because you were waiting for the matchbox magic to complete?

Nope. Just annoying people I`m out with when i ask for two minutes to take a picture.

Any favorite matchbox brands to get freaky with?

anything with a nice picture on it haha.

Matchbox Photography by Gonzo
Matchbox Photography by Gonzo