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Dan Newcome
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Help put a better darkroom in the picture

What we need

Our art project runs a darkroom at Burning Man, where we process around 100 large-scale photos. But each year we struggle to keep both the artists and dark room cool enough to function. We need your help to build a new roof on our shipping-container darkroom to keep it cool throughout the heat of the playa day.

Who we are

The Pinhole Project is a group of enthusiastic pinhole photographers who have been harvesting interaction, preserving history and challenging conventional assumptions about photography at Burning Man since 1999.

What we do

The Pinhole Project combines raw energy and the traditional technique of pinhole photography to gift the community an artistic record of achievements at Burning Man each year.

We provide the observer with a uniquely alternative way to peer into the radical self-expression, innovation and art that is the driving force of our ephemeral Black Rock City and its citizens. We also teach others to explore their creativity through this centuries-old technique.

How we do it

We work with 12 pinhole cameras made from 50-gallon cardboard drums. These include a single pinhole “lens” and a 30 x 40 inch sheet of light-sensitive gelatin silver paper.

Each day, we insert this photosensitive paper into the cameras under the red safelights of the darkroom. We then take the cameras out to the playa, where we use the unique combination of light, location and collective imagination to document our city.

To capture these images, concentrated beams of sunlight are funnelled through the pinhole and into the camera, creating a negative image of the recorded subject. Exposures can range from 40 to 300 seconds.

We then return to our desert darkroom where we develop photographs and exhibit them at Illumination Village and at Centre Camp. We also gift photographs to the artists who created the art installations we capture.


What makes us special?

Pinhole photography is a medium that engages swaths of time, where clouds stretch across the sky and the endless chatter of movement melts away. It can extract an essential stillness from the world through a primitive apparatus of reflected sunlight passed through a minute opening.

We are also an answer to the questions posed by the unique life and culture on playa. What is the nature of 'documentation' on the playa? And how can we transform the exploitative nature of a photographer’s relationship with a 'subject' into one that involves participatory interplay between the documenter and the documentee?


$5: Our love, gratitude, and appreciation for supporting our art. Thank you.

$25: Our love, gratitude, and appreciation along with a set of Pinhole stickers

$50: Sticker + postcard, and appreciation for supporting our art

$75: Sticker + postcard + HQ digital reproductions of some of our best shots

$100: Join us on playa for a one of a kind experience of shooting long exposure pinhole photography on the playa. Join us for a workshop where we will teach you about camera obscuras, developing film, and how to frame a shot. Then come out on a ride along on of our open playa photoshoots.

11x13 photo (paper negative from the camera)

$200: Same as the $100 level, but we’ll reserve one of our large cameras for you.

30x40 photo (paper negative from the camera)

$250: Your choice of one of our “banger” photos printed on a high quality lustrous gallery print. It will look amazing on your wall. US orders only. International shipping is possible if you help pay for the shipping fees.

$1,000: A private photography workshop for you and up to five of your friends. We’ll teach you the art and finesse of traditional photography, take you on a photoshoot around town, and walk you through developing your own photos in a darkroom.

This level is in San Francisco, CA only