Pinhole photographs on 120mm film depicting Portobello Mushrooms. 2 hour exposure.
Statement by Sumeet Banerji
Photography has ancient roots. The first cameras ever made were based on a natural phenomenon where a two-dimensional image was projected in a dark room through a tiny hole: “the pinhole.” The technique was described in the Mozi (a 476–221 BC Chinese text), and later even by Leonardo Da Vinci.
A pinhole camera is a lightproof box pierced with a tiny hole. The film is placed behind the hole and exposed for a calculated length of time. Because there is no lens, everything the film sees is in focus as long as the camera or subject doesn't move.
The Shroomscapes were made with a cylindrical pinhole camera where the film was wound around the pinhole rather than placed directly behind it. The camera was placed inside a portobello mushroom. The film had to be exposed for around two hours for each photograph to make up for the lack of light. The Shroomscapes are pictures of darkness and shadows. The pictures show exactly what the film saw. They are not manipulated.
In his 1954 essay The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley writes about how we see beauty when we either zoom way out of a subject or zoom way in to it. It is a way of showing us something familiar but bringing a new awareness of its structure and design logic to the viewer.