There were two main elements to the first photography assignment; pinhole or constructed camera photography and photograms and ‘invented’ negative photography. These projects primarily looked at the process of using the dark room and found objects. Photograms and invented negatives allowed the play of light and objects at different heights to the photographic paper. The play of materials allowed for a greater thought process outside of the normal box that photography sits in, in order to manipulate an image. An inspiration point for the manipulation of objects was Oscar Rejlander, also known as the grandfather of photography. Rejlander manipulated negatives of images to produce several versions of the same image.
Pinhole camera photography, on the other hand, used a homemade camera with the same principles of an SLR camera. There was a manual control over the five minute shutter speed I had, with an important step of inserting the photographic paper at the back of the camera, in the dark room. This part of the project allowed the exploration of the unknown, especially with composition, as you were never entirely sure where the camera was pointing and whether it was at an angle. Some of the more successful pinhole photographs were those perched from strange, or unsought of places. The experience of viewing the work, and even the process, was mediated by the act of capturing the image, much like the work of Pascal Grandmaison.
Each had their own difficulties, as I found I had a block as to what I can use as a subject – my mind was relatively closed throughout the project, and I did not step too far out of my comfort zone. Because of this, I was only okay with the selection that I handed in for this first assignment. I felt that it showed the diversity of all the pieces that I created, while also displaying my technical skills both in and out of the darkroom. If I were to do the project again, I would have looked at a wider variety of simple photograms and invented negatives, as this worked best. I would also try to get a cleaner developing technique as a streak of black can be seen on many of the pinhole camera positives.
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