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Monty Teacher Curates Pinhole Photography Show at Small World Coffee in Princeton

By Barbara A. Preston l Posted September 7, 2021

First there was a resurgence of vinyl records and cassette tapes. Lately, it is film cameras.

Surprisingly, New York Camera in downtown Princeton reports that "film" is back. Young people are bringing in about 100 rolls per week to be developed. And, shop owner Brian Asack says it is becoming difficult for him to keep enough film in stock to meet demand.

"It's the art of the imperfect," Ascack says. "The look could be called lo-fi, and is characterized by shake, or off-color, or other imperfections.

Montgomery High School art teacher Heather Palecek this year founded the NJ Pinhole Club, celebrating low-tech film photography. She is the curator of an art show scheduled to open at Small World Cafe on Witherspoon Street in Princeton on Thursday, September 9, and will run through October 5.

"Boardwalk," by Maurice Fitzpatrick of Montgomery Township.

A pinhole camera is effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Belle Mead resident Maurice Fitzpatrick, who is one of seven local artists featured in the Princeton show, made is own camera from a cigar box.

Pinhole club members also use lomography cameras—rudimentary lens-less camera, oftentimes

homemade from recycled materials, to capture an image through a small pin-sized hole.

"This type of camera lends itself to creating photographs with long exposures with almost infinite

depth of field, possible light leaks, and warped perspectives," Palecek says. "The unique aesthetic is a charming and can also be described as magical and otherworldly."

"Ghost Pony" by Heather Palecek.

The seven artists on exhibit at Small World include: Palecek, Fitzpatrick, Sharon Harris, Jeff McConnel, Gul Cevikoglu, Marissa Bunting, and Chris Marinari.

Visit the exhibit any day from September 9 to October 5 during business hours or meet the artists during the reception on Sunday, September 12 from 12 noon to 3 pm.

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Palecek, who lives in Ewing, says she "loves to create natural photographs that capture genuine emotion."

When she is not teaching photography at Montgomery High School, she says she spends her summers "living in my off-the-grid tiny-home cabin in the Adirondacks. I love mountains and hiking and then going out for ice cream after, relaxing in a hammock with a good book and a craft cider, browsing antique stores and record stores, seeing live music, snuggling my cat, reminiscing through old photo albums, and tending to my dozens of house plants."


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