>Two Fridays of pinhole workshops coming up. I love these days, they are so full of the unexpected. This time round we will be making large pinholes using 120 film, to give the students an idea of the process behind this (last time we used photo paper). Looking forward to it
>Another school workshop, another challenging and rewarding day. This is the first time I have done this particular workshop and it was with younger kids than I’ve taught before, but it was great fun. We spent the day creating digital negatives, salting and coating paper and exposing the images. We talked about the health and safety aspects of using chemicals and they spent time searching for and exploring historical and contemporary artists using alternative processes.
All in all success, we’re already talking about doing some more.
Just off the High Street in Tenterden, up a winding staircase is a lovely place called the Garret Gallery. This month they are holding an exhibition of images that would be perfect for Valentines Day. I have 10 pieces on the wall – lots of hearts and soft colours – I never thought I had a particular theme to my shooting but it looks like I do!
The Garret Gallery hasn’t been open very long and I hope that it is very successful as it’s great to have somewhere that supports local artists.
Walking into a room full of 6th form students is a pretty daunting prospect. Yet I can honestly say that so far, I have had only positive experiences working with A’Level photography students.
Most of them have only ever used digital cameras so the hands-on approach is a novelty. The very first thing we do is black out the room we are in and turn it into a camera obscura. Within 15 minutes every one of the students is completely in awe of the process and asking all sorts of questions about how and why it works. I take this opportunity to explain the physics of the whole thing, demonstrate the differences a larger or smaller aperture makes and show them how to calculate an F-stop.
From here we turn to making pinhole cameras from the variety of cardboard boxes they have brought in. After working out their individual camera’s f-stop, we all load in a piece of photographic paper and head outside to take a photo – using a light meter to work out our length of exposure.
My favourite part of darkroom work is watching the image appear in the developing tray. After 20 years of doing it, I am still thrilled. You can imagine the effect on a student who has just created the camera that has taken the picture and was fully expecting it not to work… All I can add is that we spend a frenzied afternoon loading cameras, developing photos and scanning results. Tiring, but great fun.