Here are some more ideas. Do you yourself have a camera/tripod you can
use for class? I am trying to think of ways you can only use a roll of
film a class. (if you have digital even better)
Turn off all the lights and have the kids work in teams to draw
pictures with flashlights as you keep the shutter open. (you will need
a tripod) They could be original creations or something you pull from
a hat. Once developed, you will have a variety of lines "painted with
light". Maybe one class to take the pictures and one class to explain
You can expand on the refrigerator box idea by blocking off an entire
room, and allowing the picture to take up the wall.
Have the students put on still theatre performances. Think Sherman,
Skoglund, have them direct the shot, bring props, wear costumes, have
them look through the viewfinder and decide where they want everything
placed. This would take multiple classes.
How hard would it be for you to get a Polaroid? Check Ebay. You could
do emulsion effects with hairpins.
What about working in teams to make a complex pinhole camera?
(multiple pinholes) I have seen really nice work made from one of
those cookie tins you get as Christmas gifts with about 10 holes poked
in it. If you have teams you wouldn't have as many pictures needed to
Have them take pictures of items or themselves, glue to cardboard,
then cut out to create characters. Use in combination with magazine
images to create scenes.
Can you have the student take one picture of something common but
disguise it, whether it is very close up, or a strange crop. The
students have to guess what each other's object is.
Look for expired papers, film and foreign brands. They are usually
cheaper, and for experimental use they should work just fine.
Is there any type of photography exchange program in your area? Where
you can send and receive pictures from kids in other countries or even
in the US? It might put a new spin on the self portrait if they can
see how others live or view themselves outside of LA.
Have you seen Born into Brothels? Excellent film, it is about teaching
photography to young children who live in Calcutta's red light
district. The kids will do amazing things with any resources you give
them. So don't worry, you will be wonderful!
Interactive Multimedia Artist
Continuing Medical Education
Cleveland Clinic, OH