In this technological age where taking pictures is a common luxury and photos can be given a vintage feel with a simple tap of a filter, photographer Sam David Felix takes a step forward by sticking to traditional photography with his handcrafted pinhole cameras.
Sam’s flare for photography developed during his one-year stay in Japan, and for a year now, he has been growing his own brand of pinhole cameras called “Miru”, which is Japanese for “to see.” Miru is also the title of his first solo exhibit at Cafe By The Ruins Dua.
For those who are not familiar with what a pinhole camera is, a pinhole camera is a lens-less camera which captures light from a very tiny perforation on the body of the camera, which is then imprinted on film. According to Sam Felix, the three most important elements to his Miru cameras are the dark chamber, the film, and a brass shim on which he meticulously pokes a pin tip to create the aperture.
Sam Felix hopes to show people that it’s not just about the photo, but the process behind it. He really enjoys the making of the cameras itself with different materials such as wood and even paper-mache, and it takes him about weeks to create his pinhole cameras. “Making them is a different thrill, and screwing up is another different thrill,” he says with a chuckle.
Sam’s cameras have been shipped to different places, even internationally, where he has received positive feedback on his work. One of his cameras has even reached the United Kingdom for a review by an authority on pinhole cameras. (You can read the review here)
Sam is very fond of taking photos of landscapes. He finds a spiritual connection during his shooting adventures as he takes the time to stop and to breathe in the work of the Creator. Photos of paths and the sea reflect his feelings of vulnerability and his walk with God.
Sam’s aesthetic for minimalism is expressed in his fondness of shooting in black and white. He says that colors tend to distract from the subject, so he uses grayscale in order for viewers to focus more on what’s in the photo. He also sees shooting in black and white as being faithful to the basics. “We started with black and white film, so I wanted to create pictures in black and white film.”
One of his favorite pieces is entitled “Tranquil.” This image of a peaceful shore is exactly “the opposite of what was happening,” he says. Though it does not show in the photo, the waves were actually strong, but the outcome turned out very different, and he loved that about the photo. The photograph speaks that “the outside does not reflect the inside.”
So how does a photo turn out that way? Simply because of the long exposure it takes to capture the image. Sam’s work is a metaphor in itself. Just as a pinhole camera needs some time to capture its subject, Sam Felix hopes to inspire people to take the time to stop and observe the world around them.
Sam will be taking a hiatus from the Baguio art scene to work in Japan, and there, he wants to learn more about his craft from “the pioneers of cameras.” He also plans to learn how to manually develop his photographs in a dark room. With that he hopes to show photographs wherein he has been in control of the entire process, from the creation of the camera to the developing of the film. Definitely something for us to look forward to when he comes back!
Visit Sam Felix’s exhibit and learn about a whole different side of photography with Miru, which will be on display at Cafe By The Ruins Dua until August , 2016