This photographer turns coconuts into primitive pinhole cameras

by Gannon Burgett

posted Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 1:27 PM EDT

It’s easy to get caught up in the intricacies of the technological marvels we call DSLRs. But it’s significant to remember that cameras can be far more rudimentary than what most of us shoot with.

If you need an example, look no further than to the work of Kotama Bouabane, a Toronto photographer who’s turned coconuts, yes coconuts, into primitive pinhole cameras.

As shared in the below video, created by The Banff Center, where Bouabane was an artist in residence throughout 2015, Bouabane’s experimentation began by using halved coconuts to create photograms of the ‘faces’ the indentations create.

Eventually, Bouabane was inspired to use the halved coconuts as a pinhole camera by creating a small hole in the middle-most indentation. To capture a photograph, Bouabane sandwiches a piece of photographic paper between the two halves — which are held together with a rubber band — using his finger as the means of controlling exposure time.

To further implement the drupes, often mistaken for a nut, throughout the process, Bouabane uses coconut water in the development process of the exposed paper.

The resulting photographs aren’t in focus and are rarely exposed perfectly, but the organic frame provided by the imperfections of the halved coconuts and overall abstraction that is the captured scene lends created to the idea that it’s often the process that provides context to the final product, not just the final image itself.

That said, it’s not about a dramatic artist statement or extravagant gallery for Bouabane. As he says multiple times throughout the video, he understands there’s a very humorous, almost comedic value to the concept and resulting work.

His lighthearted approach is further shown in a collection of photos he’s taken of himself at tourist destinations where people are holding up selfie sticks to capture photos. Rather than using a traditional selfie stick though, Bouabane simply ties a coconut to the end of a stick, providing a humorous contrast to the smartphones the other tourists are using.

To see more of Bouabane’s work, you can head on over to his website. You can find more information on The Banff Centre and its residency program on its website.

(via r/photography)