pinhole with 14 year olds

Today I helped with an introductory workshop for year ten kids who are studying photography for GCSE.  They were adamant that photography is not art for starters, so we’ve come full circle here.  They were nice.  I’m sure they are capable of being a handful under normal circumstances, but they were great and engaged for a pretty long day learning about something.

We started with a group photograph taken with a a large format camera.  A couple of them got to look through the screen where everything is upside down and back to front which was kind of popular and then we split them into three groups and they went off with their respective tutors.  I was looking after the pinhole section of the gig.  First we went into the darkroom and put the paper in the pinhole.  They found the paper confusing and the lack of lens, but, despite me screwing up the metering, they were all impressed when the paper was removed and developed.  Each group had about an hour with each tutor and then moved on.  We took them through darkroom and lumen prints as well and at no point did anybody seem disconnected to any great extent.

It seems kind of odd that now they all have cameras and yet so little of the action of photography has many ways to be significant.  I’m still learning, I learned new stuff today, but something that is pivotal to me can be mastered without the slightest thought in the direction that I come from.

It’s only just now I realized that we didn’t make a single negative with film.  We didn’t spend a moment talking about composition or flim speed or lenses, we didn’t need them at all.  They learned about silver and light and nitrate and stop and fix and still left with prints.

I learned about freestyle and beatboxing.