Kurt Mottweiler's Beautiful Pinhole Cameras
By James Grahame
According to Kurt Mottweiler, "Cameras should be curved and made of wood and brass." I couldn't agree more, especially when the result is the P.90 lensless camera, handcrafted in Portland, Oregon.
It uses medium format film to take 90 degree wide images that measure 6 x 9 cm. You can capture a grand total of 8 frames on a single roll of 120 film. It weighs only 352 grams and is constructed out of cherry wood, brass and Phenolic.
Of his cleverly curved construction, he reports, "The pinhole is located at the geometric center of a curved film plane. As a result, the images are equally bright from edge to edge and have the curvilinear perspective typical of panoramic cameras.
The top of the P.90 includes the film wind knob at the upper left, the shutter knob at the center top, the fixed feed reel spindle at top right and the safety latch knob for the back at the lower center. A pair of etched lines at either side of the Mottweiler Studio camera logo indicate the lateral extents of the camera's field of view."
The standard P.90 retails for $975.00, plus $25.00 for the accessory bubble level (shown in the top photo).The cameras all have serial numbers and are part of a 50 camera edition. Kurt also makes at least one custom camera in each production run. They typically sell for $1200 and up, depending on the particular features.
Few photographers can afford a $1000 pinhole camera, which is a pity because they elegantly blur the line between technology, art and fine craftsmanship.