Friday, 14 September 2012

lesson idea: pinhole cameras

Starter: Introduction to Camera Obscura 

If you have are lucky enough to have a darkroom then you absolutely have to make pinhole cameras with your students. It's a brilliant introduction to photography, the concept of the Camera Obscura, and the basic workings of photography and the camera. It's really easy to do and require's only basic equipment that can be accessed quickly. We often use it whilst students are getting hold of their own film SLR camera's and as a stepping stone to the more complex processes. The sheer joy that the students experience at having taken a photograph with a home made camera is what teaching this subject is all about! I have created a simple step by step guide that you can save and use for teaching this to your own students and if followed correctly is a pretty fail safe method! 

Key points to remember:
  • You must be in well lit environment that is lit by natural light. If indoors it must be near a window. Outside is better as there is more chance of success and timings will be shorter.
  • Remember to do a light test with the lens cap on first to check if the camera is leaking light.
  • A good starting point is a 1 minute exposure 
  • Place the camera down on something flat and don't wobble or hold as you will get a blurred image from 'camera shake'
  • Whatever you photograph will be in negative i.e. the lightest parts of the image (such as the sky) will be black. Create a 'positive' in the darkroom by turning the photo over, placing over a new piece of paper and exposing with the enlarger. 

Don't forget to email us some of your pinhole photo's once you've tried it out! I will post some of my students photos next week.

- Jess 

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