Reader Spotlight: Steve Irvine

by valrac4_a3kqdy

"Ceramic Camera — Copper" © Steve Irvine

Potter and photographer Steve Irvine has found a unique and beautiful way to combine these two artistic passions: self-crafted ceramic pinhole cameras. Irvine has been making his own ceramic pinhole cameras for about 12 years, but he’s been interested in photography for over 40 years. He does nature photography, astrophotography and pinhole photography.

The camera above is made of stoneware and has been fired to 1,300 degrees Celsius. The outside has a copper barium matte glaze, which, in this case, created the beautiful copper and turquoise look. In the kiln, the copper interacts with the other ingredients in the glaze and can produce a range of colours (green, red, orange, black or turquoise). The inside of the camera  is glazed with the same black glaze that is on the feet and knobs. The pinhole disk was made with a sheet of copper metal, and the camera takes a 5 x 8 inch photo paper negative. It is 29 cm tall, and the photograph below had a 130-minute exposure time.

"Nautilus Shell — Test Image" © Steve Irvine

When asked why he does photography, Irvine explained, “For me photography is an instrument of understanding — of myself and my surroundings. My approach to pinhole camera photography is a contrast to the highly technical digital work I also do. With the pinhole photography I don’t use a light meter or viewfinder, and many of the exposures are hours long. I have to develop a sense of what is going on inside the camera as it collects photons for the image. The surprises I get in the dark room as I develop the negatives will often suggest new directions to explore, and they become an important part of the creative process.”

To see more of Irvine’s gorgeous pinhole cameras and the images they make, click here and here. If you want to read Irvine’s thoughts on creativity, Chaos Theory, and nonlinear and dynamic systems in nature, you can read his article, “Science & Craft” here.

If you have a story about how photography has made a difference in your life that you would like us to consider for a Reader Spotlight, please send it to us at

Related Articles