Pippin's work shows a strong interest in the mechanical, which he has said stems from an early childhood memory of seeing his father surrounded by the wires and tubes of a television set he was repairing. Pippin's early work was based on converting furniture and everyday objects into makeshift pinhole cameras which he then uses to take sympathetic photographs.[clarification needed] This sounds simple, but often involves a significant amount of planning to overcome the practical problems posed by the chosen object. Pippin typically has to plan and construct a significant amount of supporting equipment in order to achieve his pictures. Frequently the resulting photographs are distorted or otherwise compromised by the manner of their construction, but the imperfections are seen as an important characteristic of the image, giving a link back to the object which was used as a camera. The photographs are always shown alongside an image of the converted object, and for later works, much of the equipment used in the conversion along with supporting documentation.
In 1999, Pippin was short listed for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery in London. His entry was based on the work Laundromat Locomotion, in which he converted a row of 12 washing machines in a laundromat into a series of cameras triggered by trip wires, and then rode a horse through the laundromat to recreate Eadweard Muybridge’s The Horse in Motion (1878). Pippin's more recent work also includes kinetic sculptures, these are sculptures in which movement is perceivable by the viewer.
^Pippin, Steven John; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1998). Laundromat locomotion : Mr. Pippin : [on the occasion of the Exhibition Laundromat Locomotion](SOFTCOVER)|format= requires |url= (help). [Amsterdam ; Dresden]: Verlag der Kunst. ISBN90-5705-094-3.Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)