I was invited to lead one of the workshops over the weekend of 23/24th April 2016, for the London Pinhole Festival, held at Doomed Gallery Dalston. I was pleased to have work in the show and the as part of the London Alternative Photography Collective I was asked to arrange a workshop to celebrate this wonderful regular event.
Doomed Gallery was all ready for the days events, the exhibition PV went well on Thursday and a good response to the varied work was fed back. The kitchen soon to be a darkroom was blackened and I did some last minute extra blackening outside to be sure. The Attendees arrived early and watched as I continued to set up. I laid out the items, creating a kit for each participants.
Camera making was fine overall, the card tube a bit tougher to cut through than most. Making the pinholes was straight forward and these were then attached to the cylinders. The cameras were to use paper first and then they would be converted to use film, this conversion could be reversed quite easily. Everyone loaded their cams and once they were secured we ventured out onto Ridley Road.
The first images came out better than expected, there were interesting images on all sheets of paper. Some had decided to have two pinholes and they made a simultaneous exposure giving a wonderful chaotic view of the bustling market.
Back in the darkroom it was a methodical process going through the sheets but they all came out and the cameras were reloaded. The thin strips of market coming to life in the trays. A couple of them needed to adjust exposure a little but that was the reason for doing these, in order to get an idea of the size of pinhole.
I had also brought a number of other pinholes cameras with me in order to show how they worked both handmade and purchased. The Zero 4×5 which I had brought with me was going to be used for portraits. One of the students used this to do self portraits and considering the chill in the air and the inordinate length of the exposure it was great to see something appear. The first two were a bit burnt out and there were just feet and legs visible as the sky was rather overpowering the image. The third was successful.
The cameras were then converted to film and all students inserted a variety of BW films in the pots. These were spliced to take up spools and ready to take convex pinhole images on a curved film plane in a cylinder.
I didn’t get to see the results sadly, we ran out of time but I hope they were prepared enough for use the next day on WPPD2016.
The best feedback was that they were going to make others, I’m glad they were inspired enough to want to bother. I hope they did!
Review, I would say it went well. I would have loved more time to make sure they understood the way paper negatives worked in their cameras and to capture images of the market. The cameras they made were dual purpose and so they were able to take that knowledge away with them. Onward to the next workshop.