For nearly 30 years, San Lorenzo, New Mexico, photographers Eric Renner and Nancy Spencer collected examples of pinhole photography. By the time they donated the Pinhole Resource Collection to the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives in April 2012, there were 6,000 photographs by 500 photographers from 36 countries. “We didn’t buy any of these,” Renner said. “Probably 99 percent were ones that people contributed without us saying we like this photograph; in other words, people sent them thinking we might publish some of them. It’s not like the art collector who buys an image because he likes it. So it’s an odd collection but an interesting one.”
Nearly 225 photographs and 40 cameras from the Pinhole Resource Collection are featured in Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography, an exhibition curated by the two at the New Mexico History Museum. Most of the works are from 1969 to the present, although there is a historical pinhole section with an 1890 print and examples from 1917 and 1919 by Laura Gilpin. Selections from the collection are featured in Poetics of Light: Contemporary Pinhole Photography published by the Museum of New Mexico Press.