Terra Poirier

Geist - - Features - —Roni Simunovic

The pin­hole photograph­y diary project

The im­ages here are se­lected from Terra Poirier’s pin­hole photograph­y diary project, for which Poirier pho­tographed her daily rou­tine for three weeks us­ing a pin­hole cam­era, sim­i­lar to how one might keep a writ­ten diary. Pin­hole cam­eras—much like the first cam­eras of the nine­teenth cen­tury—re­quire long ex­po­sure times, min­utes or even hours; any­thing that moves in the frame is blurred or erased en­tirely. For one of the pho­tos fea­tured here, Poirier pho­tographed a forty-five-minute long hair­cut ses­sion: Poirier can be seen sit­ting in a chair; her stylist, who moved around, is miss­ing from the photo. In other pho­tos, crowded spa­ces—costco, Value Vil­lage, a diner, the dentist’s of­fice—ap­pear empty. “Most peo­ple don’t seem to reg­is­ter that I’m tak­ing a pho­to­graph. I’ll set up my lit­tle tri­pod, get down on the ground to ad­just the an­gle and re­lease the shut­ter, and then I have to hang around while the film is ex­posed,” Poirier says. “I’m al­ways think­ing about whether I’ll get asked to move by se­cu­rity.”

Pin­hole pho­to­graphs, she writes, are un­re­li­able in the same way di­aries are: both record and dis­tort mo­ments and leave a selec­tive record of events. Poirier uses this slow form of photograph­y in the age when hun­dreds of bil­lions of pho­to­graphs are gen­er­ated ev­ery year us­ing smart­phones. Dur­ing her three-week project Poirier cap­tured 72 ex­po­sures. April 26 is National Pin­hole Photograph­y Day.

Terra Poirier is a pho­tog­ra­pher who lives in Van­cou­ver and at ter­

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