RVA As Seen Through the Pinhole


artwalkRVA as Seen Through the Pinhole” will open as a part of the First Friday’s ArtWalk, 5-9p on Friday, September 5 at Elegba Folklore Society’s Cultural Center.  This exhibition of black and white photographs is produced by the artist, James W. Draper, Jr., using the techniques of pinhole photography.

“RVA as Seen Through the Pinhole” is a series of photographs depicting scenes around Richmond. This series demonstrates the artist’s fascination with the light tight box or camera obscura and its potential. Says Draper, “The pinhole camera is unconventional photography that challenges the analog in me. The pinhole gives me freedom to go beyond traditional photography.” Because the camera obscura functions like a projector or like a recorder, it can support creativity in the pinhole artist by producing unique images and ideas. 

A pinhole camera and imagery to record will be included in the exhibition, and visitors to the cultural center can try it out. 

The Ęlęgba handsFolklore Society’s Cultural Center is located on 101 East Broad St. in the downtown RVA arts district at the corner of 1st and Broad Street and the exhibit will be available  Sept. 5th — Nov. 30th. For more information visit their website: www.efsinc.org

Draper Photographs As Seen in:

Richmond Times Dispatch    RVA Magazine                                     Instagram Twitter  Facebook

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World Wide Pinhole Day 2014


So many statues and monuments are located in Richmond, VA.

This time I decided to photograph this massive water tower. I used my camera loaded with film holders and the Polaroid back.


This is a 4×5 wide angle Leonardo pinhole camera, f/250 lens. It has been modified to accept a 405 Polaroid  back. Fujifilm FP-100C & Ilford B&W photo paper were also used.

Pinhole Camera

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2013


When is the Worldwide Pinhole Photography day?

The next Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is on Sunday, April 28, 2013.

What is the Worldwide Pinhole Photography day?

This is an international event created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day was established to celebrate the joy of simple creativity using the medium of lensless photography. We want to show that, from a device as simple as a cardboard box with a tiny hole, you can create inspiring images. Minimal technology and cost: Maximum Passion and Sensitivity!

On this unique day, people are encouraged throughout the world

  • to take some time off from the increasingly technological world we live in and to participate in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph.
  • to share their visions and help spread the unusual beauty of this historical photographic process.

How are the photos displayed?  The Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day exhibition website categorizes photos each year from pinhole photographers from over 68 countries!

They also share an additional and less formal characteristic: the sincere enthusiasm of their creators who, by participating in this collective event, shared individual visions and techniques. Hence the amazing diversity of subjects, cameras, techniques and photographic materials combined in this exhibit!


Each year I have submitted photographs to the Worldwide Pinhole Photography website taken from pinhole cameras that I have constructed.  Please take a moment to view my photos below:


pinhole photograph

The Virginia Fire and Police Museum in Richmond, Virginia caught my attention early during the year. I selected this historical eye catcher from among many fire memorabilia located there.”

cameraMy pinhole camera is a handcrafted wooden box adapted to use 4×5 film holders and Polaroid back. Photo was exposed on Ilford black and white paper & developed in the darkroom.”

Copyright 2013 James Draper Jr All rights reserved.


pinhole photograph

Copyright 2012 James Draper Jr All rights reserved.

cameraI discovered this old truck at a farmer’s market in Richmond, Va and thought it would make a great shot. My camera pinhole lens is f/100, exposure was 45 seconds with Ilford black & white photo paper.

My customed made pinhole camera is equipped with a bellows, Lenox Laser pinhole lens,and a 4×5 graflex film holder back.

Focal length is adjustable, exposures are controlled by a cable release.”


2011 “The Dome Home”


“Image was made with a Busch Pressman 4×5 camera converted with a Lenox Laser f/100 pinhole lens & b&w photo paper. Exposure was 60 seconds on a sunny day.”

Copyright 2011 JAMES DRAPER JR All rights reserved.


2010 “The World Globe”

“World Globe image was exposed with a modified Busch Pressman camera equipped with a handmade pinhole lens. Adorama B&W photo paper was loaded in 4×5 film holders.”

Copyright 2010 JAMES DRAPER JR All rights reserved.

2009, “untitled”


“A Busch Pressman 4×5 camera was modified with a pinhole len. Image was captured on Ilford b&w paper, loaded in 4×5 backs, exposed at 30 seconds”.”

Copyright 2009 JAMES DRAPER JR All rights reserved.



” A modified enlarger bellows was made into a pinhole camera w/ variable focal lengths and 4×5 backs. It is adapted to use b&w paper or film. This image was made on RC photo paper.””

Copyright 2007 JAMES DRAPER, JR. All rights reserved.

2008, “untitled”


“Leonardo 4×5 W/A, f/250, 5 minute exposure, Ilford b&w paper, w/ photo flood light, outside cloudy day shot. Join the pinholers and rediscover the art of photography.””

Copyright 2008 JAMES DRAPER JR All rights reserved.



“This exposure was made at Brown’s Island in Richmond, Virginia. I used the six inch Leonardo pinhole camera, 4×5 backs, loaded with black & white photo paper.”

Copyright 2006 JAMES W. DRAPER, JR. All rights reserved.



“This image was made with my handmade wooden pinhole camea, fitted with a 5×7 film back. I used Kodak Polycontrast RC black & white photo paper to capture time. Pinhole photography is enjoyable and challenging.””

Copyright 2005 JAMES W. DRAPER, JR. All rights reserved.



“Have you ever used an oatmeal box as a pinhole camera? Well, it takes great photos! This photo was made on Kodak Polycontrast F black and white paper.”

Copyright 2004 JAMES DRAPER, JR. All rights reserved.



“This photo was taken with an oatmeal box. I used black & white photo paper as my recording surface. This angle was selected to emphasize the many steps. I enjoyed using the oatmeal box as my pinhole camera because it gave an exaggerated view.”

Copyright 2003 James Draper, Jr. All rights reserved.

About The Photographer


BS, MEd Virginia State University

Richmond Free Press – Former Photographer

Richmond Public Schools – Visual Literacy Program
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College – Adjunct
Virginia State University – Adjunct

Workshops/Staff Development:
National Arts Program Events
City Recreation and Parks

Built, tested, and submitted pinhole content on websites

Pinhole photography has become my greatest hobby. I enjoy the challenges offered with this alternative photo process.

Please view more of pinhole photographs here: Pinhole Photographs

Learn more about pinhole photography by viewing my Science Museum of Virginia presentation entitled: “A Peek into Pinhole Photography”   View Presentation Here

EMAIL: jimfilm42@verizon.net


Pinhole photography has become my greatest hobby. I enjoy the challenges offered with this alternative photo process.

Please check back often as I will be updating this site with more information.

Thank you for visiting!!