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Lesson Plans


Re: Pin hole cameras

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Alexander (mamjam)
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 21:35:31 -0500

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Fran,

Pin hole cameras are fun! I have done it with students, but I also use the
pin hole camera for some of my own work, especially when I'm feeling
low-tech. Yes, you have to develop the film, but you can use photo paper
for the film, which is a lot easier to develop because you can leave the
red safe lights on to see what's going on. I mostly use 3 lb. coffee cans
to make the cameras. I use photo paper 'negatives' which are contact
printed into finished 'positives.'

A book I suggest: THE HOLE THING: A MANUAL OF PINHOLE FOTOGRAFY, by Jim
Schull, published by Morgan & Morgan Publishers, Dobbs Ferry, New York,
1974. It might be out of print, but it has been a wonderful resource for
me. Ask at the library. Perhaps an inter library loan would help if its not
available. I was an artist/photographer before teaching and I took the
photographic process pretty seriously. This book helped me lighten up and
reduce the sacred status the process used to have for me so I could help
the kids get into it and make their own discoveries. I have grown
artistically because of this book. I've been looking for another copy
because I lent mine out and I haven't seen it since. I can't remember who
borrowed it, so if you find a source for another copy, (or if you happen to
find one with my name inside the cover) please let me know.

KODAK's web pages have a lot of info about teaching photography:
http://www.kodak.com/customers/education/lessonPlans/lessonPlans.shtml

KODAK also has a great page about making and using pin hole cameras:
http://www.kodak.com/aboutKodak/bu/ci/education/lessonPlans/pinholeCamera/

Light is essential to all visual arts and vision, and photography is a
great way to learn about light as well as time. Also, those who have
experienced the basics of photography are better able to actually
understand what they see. I think the overall objective is to encourage
careful observation, and most of the upper elementary and middle school
kids I know desperately need this!

I have taught photography to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade people, in a variety
of venues. I like to begin with camera obscura, then photograms and pin
hole photography. Black and white film and 35 mm cameras is the natural
next step.

For a room sized camera obscura, black out the classroom windows and cut a
1/4" hole in the plastic. The kids take turns dancing around outside, while
their classmates watch the reflected light rays dance upside down on the
opposite wall of the classroom. They'll learn how light travels in straight
rays. Then look at Jan Vermeer's paintings which some surmise he used a
camera obscura to make.

Before using light sensitive materials, it is important to learn the 4
factors necessary to control light which are common to all forms of
photography:
THE 4 FACTORS OF
LIGHT CONTROL FOR PHOTOGRAPHY:
[plumbing analogy]
1) THE AMOUNT OF LIGHT
[how much water pressure is in the line?]
2) THE OPENING SIZE
[how wide is the faucet opened?]
3) THE OPENING TIME
[how long is the faucet left open?]
4) THE SENSITIVITY OF THE EMULSION
[how much water is needed to fill the cup?]

Since making pinhole cameras with kids I've been making and using them on
my own. I love the random distortions, selective sharpness, and the paper
negatives of this easy, cheap, and low-tech photographic medium. I like to
incorporate the pin hole negatives with other photographic images to create
poetic montages.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. I also look forward
to hearing other responses. This list is full of creative people who
participate with so many cool ideas!

REMEMBER: We don't see THINGS, we see LIGHT reflecting off of things!

Mark Alexander
1-8 art on the cart
Lee H. Kellogg School
Falls Village, CT 06031

At 6:37 PM 11/24/97, Fran Marze wrote:
>Where do you get information on making a pinhole camera. I'm not very good
>at photography. Also, do you then develop your own film? I'd like to do
>this lesson. Fran


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