To see how I fit into the whole program, and meet the participants, I attended the opening session on Monday morning.
It was held at the Paine Art Center and Arboretum carriage house and conservatory.
This might show a lack of editorial discipline, but here's a closer shot with the sun rising over the conservatory. It was the first time since I retired I had to be anywhere except the hospital first thing in the morning.
Introductory remarks and introductions were held in the carriage house side.
The director of the Art Center just happened to be standing right behind me and gave a few welcoming remarks.
The actual workshop was held in the conservatory. During the presentation, the art center director was spotlit by a sunbeam from the skylight. I wonder if he was aware of it?
The exercise used a history/sociology lesson about Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Union. A painting by Octavio Ocampo was used to stimulate discussion and the small-group, active-learning, arts-integrating method was to create a tableau vivant with a six or seven word script to interpret his life and accomplishments. The instructor's caveat to think about how you were going to hold a pose for a minute or two sounded like it would be useful for working with pinhole tomorrow afternoon.
Started out on chairs, but with a room full of twenty-somethings, when the active-learning group work started, there was a lot of sitting on the floor.
The next afternoon was my turn. No darkroom at the Paine, so we were two blocks down Elmwood Ave. in the Arts & Communication Building at the University.
Tried to have everything ready when they arrived.
It was kind of odd to be introduced as someone who for a long time has had pinhole photography as a hobby. That's what I get for my lack of ambition and conceptual discipline.
Drilling the pinholes and installing them on the cameras.
I spent most of the afternoon in the darkroom and looking at the pictures as positive images on a document camera and discussing them with the participants. With 23 of them, it felt like I hardly got to work with them at all. When I did get out side, there was only this one group nearby to capture with the Populist.
I got him to get closer.
We had looked through the cameras before installing pinholes to get an idea of the angle of view and had gun site indicators on the camera to determine what was in the frame. Despite the cameras being about the angle of view of the cell phone cameras they use all the time, when setting up a picture without a viewfinder, most of them seemed to revert to framing the picture about the way how they thought they would frame it with the normal perspective of their eyes instead of getting as close as they needed to with these wide angle cameras. Pre-visualizing the pictures with a wide angle pinhole camera seems to be something that you have to learn to do (...the zen of pinhole?). I wish I had another day with them. You can only accomplish so much in a one-day workshop.
It was a brilliant, bright sunny day. I was distressed that there were so many issues with light leaks that had to be fixed. I think I'm going to get a tattoo that says "The sun is a vengeful benefactor" Anyway, the only picture I took with the workshop materials, in order to test the light-tightness of a camera, was this self-portrait, posed so I could hold it for a minute or two.
All the color with the Populist, .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.
The black and white with a .5mm pinhole 5 inches from a 4x5 frame.