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Summer School at Stills, Constructing Identities: Film Stills to Selfies

Summer School at Stills, Constructing Identities: Film Stills to Selfies

8 July 2019 - 12 July 2019
11am - 4pm
Caroline Douglas and Morwenna Kearsley

Using the Stills summer exhibition by acclaimed American artist Cindy Sherman as a point of departure, this week-long course will consider various approaches to photographic portraiture and self-portraiture.

In a relaxed and informal environment we will explore a range of photographic techniques from darkroom to digital. Working with historical and contemporary methods we will think about ways in which identity can be constructed through lens-based media. In turn, we will consider how these images are disseminated in contemporary visual culture.

Throughout the week, we will work with:

 - 35mm analogue darkroom processes,
 - Digital SLR and phone cameras,
 - Green screen - Digital manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects.

Combining practical activities with group discussions and feedback, you will produce a series of photographic works and leave fully-equipped with a range of capturing and editing techniques.

This course is suitable for those who are new to photography as well as those who want to expand upon existing skills. All materials and equipment are included in the price. The course will be limited to 6 participants.

Cindy Sherman was born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, USA and lives and works in New York. Considered one of the most influential artists of her generation, she came to prominence in the late 1970s with a group of artists known as the Pictures Generation. Throughout her career, Sherman has worked with photography to picture herself in a range of guises and personas. Drawing upon images from art history, film, TV, magazines and the internet, she has become well known and hugely influential for her explorations into the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation.

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Course Outline

Day 1 Introduction, Representing the Self / Re-enacting the Other

• Exhibition Tour of Cindy Sherman: Early Works, 1975-80 
• Look at the legacy and approaches to self-portraiture in photography from film to Instagram 
• Manual SLR camera controls  
• Using 35mm analogue cameras: Undertake Sherman’s Re-enactment of original student project Bus Riders 
• Recreate an ‘Untitled Film Still’

Day 2 Analogue Processes

• Learn how to hand-process 35mm film  
• Learn how to make a contact sheet in the darkroom, evaluate your images
• Learn the basics of darkroom printing and manipulation to create 8x10” silver gelatin prints in the darkroom

Day 3 Performing for the Camera

• Look at reworking the photograph and manipulation in contemporary art.
• Using digital cameras green-screen and digital software create Cindy Sherman inspired characters as a photographic still and/or video footage.  
• Learn how to use Adobe Photoshop CC to create an environment or a digital collage to place your “film still” character.

Day 4 Working in Series

• Look at a range of photographic artists that work in narrative series.
• Make a short storyboard for a series of images that feature your character from the previous day. 
• Continue to edit work in digital suite using Adobe Photoshop and mobile phone applications. Make a series of images using your storyboard.
• Print out contact sheets/working prints with the digital printer

Day 5 Print Ready

• Print 35mm film still - learning craft of darkroom manipulation
• AND/OR Create large scale colour print
• AND/OR Edit video footage
• Present work made over the course of week


Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking