Peter Kalbfleisch
Artist, photographer, and camera-maker.
EVENT: Introject at FotoCircle (216 Alaskan Way, 624-2645), through Dec 2.

I'm interested in how you made the camera you used, and how many steps your eye was removed from what you were looking at. "Quite a few steps removed, actually. Essentially, I was looking at cranes and storage containers, photographing them through regular cameras and seeing exactly what I saw, which I thought was dumb. It came out of investigating cameras and taking them apart, stemming from things that were based on Super-8 film projectors I was making by hand. I got into the realm of 35-millimeter cameras, and the easiest way for me to make them was to take old disposable cameras that I had, and take them apart and play with them. I took apart a 35-millimeter so that my finger controlled the shutter. I decided to use 100 and 200 speed film--because that was the film that I was able to control best, with the rate that I was controlling the shutter."

Because you couldn't move your finger fast enough for faster film? "That, and it couldn't move fast enough because I was interested in specifically shooting in daylight. So, a lot of light was coming in. Finding the speed that related to the light coming in was important. I had just moved down to South Seattle and I had just finished completing this other show related to the sky, and was still interested in the sky. So I went over to this pay telescope in West Seattle and thought it would be a fun idea to shoot down airplanes. So I put this camera that I made through another lens--"

The other lens being the telescope, right? "Exactly. It wasn't an easy thing. And so much light is coming through the pinhole and it's automatically diffused, pixelated. It's very soft-focus. After I developed a couple of rolls, I realized too much light was coming through. But I had already established a relationship with the telescope, so I was going to continue shooting through it. A couple of the pictures with the cranes came out--I really liked them. But only two came out, after two or three rolls of film."