Narrowboat is photographer’s quirky studio

When it comes to quirky studio spaces, that of photographer Lee Finch takes some beating. 

The Pinhole Studio is a 45-foot narrowboat lovingly restored and converted by Lee and moored on the Peak Forest Canal at New Mills.

The Manchester-based artist holds regular workshops in the studio and also uses it as an exhibition space for his work and a collection of photographic memorabilia. 

If you want to have a look for yourself he will inviting people on board as part of the New Mills Festival Art Trail.

Lee specialises in traditional photographic printmaking processes such as pinhole photography and making contemporary photograms.

“Photograms are a very early and traditional photographic printmaking technique, where objects are placed between a light source and light sensitive materials,” he explained. 

“Many wonderful, strange and surprising things happen when objects are exposed directly to light sensitive paper and that is what I find fascinating.”

Lee was a teenager when he first discovered darkroom techniques having been given a demonstration by his art teacher.

“He gave us a lesson in printmaking, I made my first photogram and was hooked,” said Lee revealing the passion he has for his subject.

“I had my first enlarger and darkroom in my bedroom when I was 16 and have progressed from there. Now I have this fantastic floating studio, which for me is just perfect.

“There was a lot of hard graft involved in converting it but the narrowboat is a great practical solution as a studio, and I really enjoy having it based at New Mills where there is a vibrant arts community.

“All the pieces of my mini jigsaw puzzle have fallen into place and I hope that I am now going to be able to contribute towards keeping the traditional art of photography alive with workshops and my own art.”

As well as working as an artist Lee has also spent more than 20 years teaching art and design after studying Fine Art, Printmaking and Photography at Bradford University. For the past ten years he has led the photography department at Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College.

He describes his personal artistic work as a celebration of the aesthetics of nostalgia and the everyday object. 

For the New Mills Festival art trail he will be exhibiting a series of pinhole photographs and objects that help map out the history of photography. 

The images are based primarily in New Mills and the wider High Peak.

Admission is free and he will be there on September 27,  28 and 29 from 2am-6pm. There will be workshops in the mornings, details of which are at He is moored between Victoria Street and Woodside Street.