Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feature Photographer Blue Mitchell

 It's my pleasure to introduce you to Blue Mitchell.  Blue is an avid pinhole photographer and alternative photography supporter.  Blue is the founder of Diffusion Magazine, and also runs his own online gallery called Plates to Pixels.  I'm a big fan of Blue's work and hope you enjoy his photos!!

Wires (Self Portrait), pinHolga

How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?

The first job I had out of highschool was as stockman at Wal-Mart. They sold Holgas at the time so I picked one up but I never even loaded film into it. I started seriously using it when I converted it into a pinhole in 2004 (10 years later). So officially I've been shooting with a Holga for 6 years.

Baby Bump, Holga Wide Pinhole

Playground (self portrait), Holga Wide Pinhole, overlapping exposures

What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?

Well like most lo-fi camera users will agree, the Holga forces you to shoot intuitively rather than technically. The Holga reminds me to shoot full frame and at the same time allows me the creative flexibility that drew me to photography in the first place; The film size, manual wind, vignetting, light leaks and portability are all specific reasons I adore the Holga. I also find it makes the best atmospheric images that really captures the emotional context of a place.

Dogwood (Self Portrait), Holga Wide Pinhole, overlapping exposures

Portrait with Self Portrait, pinholga, overlapping exposures

Please tell me a bit about your pinholga work - how did you make your own pinholga?

My earlier pinholga work came about as a diversion from my thesis project while in college. I was romanced by the idea of not thinking, just shooting. We actually took apart the Holga and made pinholes for it in a class taught by Libby Rowe (www.libbyrowe.com) at the Oregon College of Art & Craft. I tore apart two Holgas, one was to modify the shutter to allow for long exposures and the second was to remove the lens altogether and add a pinhole. This was before I knew anything about Holgamods (www.Holgamods.com). I used www.mrpinhole.com to design the correct pinhole for the specific film size and focal length of the Holga.

Originally I wasn't seeking to necessarily do anything serious with the pinholga work it was more for pleasure and I took it with me on our travels to the coast, the river, or just to the park. I had no preconceived notions about what I was trying to do - just opening a shutter for a few seconds in an environment I feel at home in. I'm still very interested in creating a full narrative series with the Holga 120SF.

Fort Stevens, Holga Wide Pinhole, overlapping exposures

Sacré-Coeur-Basilica-Paris, Holga

What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?

Besides the pinHolga, Holga 120SF and Holga 120WPC, I actively use A Seagull TLR, a 4x5 cigar box pinhole, an old box camera converted to pinhole, the Polaroid Button, a cheap plastic underwater camera, a Pentax Spotmatic (need to break this one out again), a few random lomo cameras, my old Canon Elan II and the proverbial DSLR, a Canon 30D.

Gnome Spirit, pinHolgaroid

Sellwood, Portland, pinholga, overlapping exposures

Favourite photo film(s)?

Recently I've been shooting (Holga, pinhole, TLR) with Kodak Ektar 100 and my all time favorite Fuji Velvia. I always have TMAX 400 on hand for black and whites as well as TMAX P3200 for the 35mm cameras (love grain)!

Montmarte School Yard, Paris, Holga, double exposure

The River, Holga, double exposure

You are the creator of Diffusion Magazine. What prompted you to start this magazine and what kinds of artists/works do you feature?

Quite a few reasons actually but I can sum it up like this. I wanted to create a venue for like-minded artists to collaborate and share ideas in a formal atmosphere. Diffusions inception was heavily influenced by alternative process photographers and those using unique methods of image capture, analog/lo-fi cameras, alternative print processing and of course technical wizardry. Please listen to my recent interview on the Lauren Henkin's PhotoRadio blog (http://www.photoradioblog.com/?p=16) to get a full picture of what Diffusion is about.

Mt. Tabor Cherry Blossoms, double exposure

The Tower, Paris, Holga

What inspires you?

My family! I've never met such an inspiring group of people (of course I'm biased) To name a few others off the top of my head; Julia Margaret Cameron, a murder of crows, the Pre-Raphaelites, the ocean, François Truffaut, the state of Montana, Alfred Stieglitz & Edward Steichen, the band Mono (from Japan), really big oak trees, really little maple trees, and Hazel from Watership Down.

My Two Selves in Their Natural Habitat, Holga Wide Pinhole, overlapping exposures

Blue's Links:


 Zen Garden (self portrait), Holga Wide Pinhole, overlapping exposures


  1. Thanks for giving us an inside look at the talented, driven, artist Blue Mitchell

  2. @ MVDT...stop it :).
    @Jen, thanks for including me, nice to see all this come together.

  3. Great interview. Outstanding images.

  4. I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information annabel law



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