A can with a little hole and some duck tape. It sounds simple, but that’s where the paradox resides. To photograph with a digital camera in auto mode, all you need to do is click. But a pinhole, the mother of all analog cameras, requires much more than that: a good dose of patience and concentration, for a start, but also an understanding of the basic principle of photography, which is controlling light. After that, some imagination, inspiration and encouragement will do the rest.
At least that is what the “Mão na Lata” (Hand on can) project is about. It consists of distributing pinhole cameras to teenagers from 12 to 18 years old in Complexo da Maré, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro comprising of 16 favelas where about 130,000 people live. From the crafting of the cameras, made with powdered milk cans, to the developing of the negatives, everything is done by the participants themselves, who are asked to document their community’s daily life in black and white.