Pinhole Photography with an Autistic Perception

Roland Buehlmann - Interrupted Aligned Points Of Light

By Roland Bühlmann

About pinhole photography

Pinhole photography is one of my favorite interests; the other is music. I play guitar and several other instruments and I record and produce my own music. I learned both special interests an an autodidactic. A third interest is reading books (criminal stories, biographies, history).

A pinhole camera is a camera without a lens but with an aperture (or pinhole). Pinhole lenses or even camera obscura is an optical phenomenon well known hundreds of years BC.

Pinhole Camera

I use a Nikon FM2 as camera without lenses but with pinhole apertures.

Since the early 80’s I take pictures with pinhole cameras. The first abstract photos were taken in 1992 as I made apertures with several holes with them. I photographed different light sources (lamps, liquids in glasses, reflections on different materials, through glass balls). I had discovered a technique that enabled me to take abstract photographs.

I experimented further with pinholes produced with different hole sizes, hole shapes and a number of holes. Meanwhile, I have around 40 different pinholes I use on my Nikon.

I use exclusively analog slide films. As soon as I get a sufficient number of photographs that correspond to my ideas I digitize them. This process can take several months or even years.

Ronald Buehlmann photography

About my autism

More than ten years ago I read an article in a magazine written by a man with Asperger’s. In this article he described how he is and feels and I thought I was reading about myself. Later I talked with my wife and she exclaimed “Yes, that’s you!”

I then took some online tests all with the result that I have Asperger’s. But I hesitated to have a psychologist test me until this year. The psychologist validated my diagnosis of Asperger’s in May 2020 at age 58. (Editor’s note: Asperger’s is no longer a diagnosis in the DSM-V).

The diagnosis was a relief for me because I know now why I’m different. It has a name now. It was also a relief for my wife. Often when I wanted to be alone, she felt denied but now she knows it hasn’t anything to do with her.

As I am a very calm and reserved person, I did not attract attention, except by my calmness.

But inside I have long noticed that I am different. I don’t like it when I am among many people; I don’t like people who talk a lot, and I hate certain types of noise. I prefer to be alone; I can deal with my special interests for hours, and I love to do nothing and to indulge my thoughts. Very difficult question for me is “how are you?”. I always respond “fine,” but often I don’t know how I feel and what’s in my mind.


My name is Roland Bühlmann, I was born in Solothurn, Switzerland in 1961. I’m married and I live with my wife in Oekingen, close to Solothurn, Switzerland. We have two arisen sons. What has shaped my life for a long time is I’m a Christian.

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