Unboxing Jon Wilkening’s ‘Tiny Plastic Box #1’

Tiny Plastic Box #1‘ is the first in a series of books documenting Jon’s film-based, pinhole, 365 project. Yes, you read that correctly: film, pinhole, 365. GoGo!

At first, I thought perhaps it was a gimmick or something, and I hoped he would find the film-pinhole novelty enough to help keep the project going. I said as much in my limited comments on the YouTube page for this. But peering back into the deep recesses of his blog, I found that he’s been actively pursuing the pinhole for several years, so I guess he knows what he’s doing. During my 365 project, back in 2012, I remember having many days where I just didn’t want to mess with it, and now, 13 weeks into my weekly roll thing, I wonder if I’m just wasting film, shooting just to shoot, and isn’t that what digital is for? …but this isn’t about me or my failures, it’s about Jon and his great little book, and the additional volumes to come.

If I read correctly, Jon works with a pinhole Holga he bought by mistake some years ago. I don’t think he shoots with much else anymore. Like I said, I scrolled a long way back through his blog, and Jon has been a busy guy. He left his banker job some years ago to pursue photography full time, and he’s been making a sincere go of it: 100 days in a row with his 4×5 and homemade pinhole lens (completed on March 29, 2015); a podcast; a weekly newsletter with links and thoughts; a print subscription; and now a 356 and book/zine project. I have some disagreements with the drive to monetize hobbies, but kudos to anyone with the confidence and spousal/family support to do it.

This book project is just the sort of thing I want to try my hand at, and peering back through almost two years of Jon’s blog helped me to put my own false and half-starts, my own pauses and rethinks into perspective. It’s ok to doubt and wonder and try and fail, and as long as I jump in and try again, I should keep going. Thanks, Jon!

Agh. Well, I guess this isn’t so much about Jon’s book after all, but about the effect it (and his work in general) has had on me, and maybe that’s enough.

Copies of ‘Tiny Plastic Box #1’ are still available at time of writing, and you can pick one up or sponsor the whole series if you feel so inclined: there are 5 more planned in the series. At the very least, go check out some of Jon’s work: you won’t be disappointed.

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