CONTACT: Young Photographers Group
Contact is an eight-week photography club for young people aged 16 - 19. Over the duration of the course the group will learn new skills and work towards putting on an exhibition at Stills. Each week our youth ambassador Alex will share what they’ve been up to, so stay tuned to keep up to date!
Session 1 Friday 24th April 2015
Today was the first session of the Contact Young Photographers Club at Stills Gallery. Everyone was probably feeling a bit nervous at starting something new, but excited at the same time. Learning about the technical side can be both fun – and sometimes amusing. The language and terminology used in this session conjured up some odd imagery for example the “Dumping” of the lights didn’t really mean that we were putting them in the bin, nor breaking up with them!
First we learned all about how to us our cameras in manual mode, which is fundamental in photography. We then put our skills to the test photographing our “fabulous” model Grieg. We looked at the portrait work of Richard Avedon taking particular notice of how his images fill the frame, without the need to crop. We discussed how he used a studio-like set up outdoors. We couldn’t do this ourselves, but went on to take portraits of each other in an indoor studio. We had to discuss the use of lighting, and how it affects the image.
I ended up having my portrait taken holding a flower, what does this say about me huh? Am I beautiful and delicate? I don’t think so! We were initially going to shoot on a medium format camera, but this didn’t work for us, so we chose to use digital SLRs instead.
Session 2, Friday 1 May 2015
In this weeks session, it was finally sunny! Wasting no time, we started by discussing the art and different styles of street photography. We looked at the work of Lee Friedlander who had created an interesting series, where he cast his own shadow somewhere within an image. After learning about the importance of using a fast shutter speed to capture the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the Royal Mile. We were ready! I think…
We then went out, and I tried the idea of photographing people’s shadows, this caused me a bit of embarrassment, as a group of women thought I was photographing their legs – they should be so lucky!
On returning to Stills we uploaded our photos to the computer, whilst learning about Adobe Bridge and Photoshop. Some fun was had by zooming in on people’s faces in our photographs, and looking at the expressions of the unsuspecting subjects.
The culmination of our afternoon resulted in the printing of our best shots, some done on a “wee” canon printer the size of a postcard.
Session 3, Friday 8 May 2015
Everyone’s film came out alright apart from mine and Jordan’s! (Partly my fault). I just have the memories in my head instead. So today Greig, Jordan and I went up the Royal Mile for a re-shoot. It was fun being in Greig’s portrait series, as well as being an impromptu wedding photographer. At least the Bride and Groom we saw shouldn’t forget their wedding anniversary date (unlike my parents) The 8th of May turned out to be the best of day for the SNP.
On the returning to Stills we processed our film, scanned our negatives, and learned how to make contact sheets in Adobe-Bridge.
“Cool” was the word of the day.
Session 4, Friday 15 May 2015
Everyone was pretty tired today at Stills, as were the chemicals by the end of the session! So today, we were in the darkroom, we first discussed how to print our own contact sheets to determine which was the best “Still”. We then went on to discuss how to overlap our chosen images, this was done by printing the first image then printing the second image on the same sheet of paper, if that makes sense.
I had the dilemma of either putting spider man in a shop, or making him the bride of the wedding that we encountered, and photographed last week. The result was neither. After a week of exams I couldn’t make any decisions.
In next weeks session we’re going to be learning about pinhole photography. So our assignment this week is to eat lots of Pringles!
Session 5, Friday 22 May
Spring has sprung, and Summer is near! At Stills we were experimenting with pinhole photography a method of photography that is hundreds of years old! We were expecting to be making our own cameras out of Pringle tubes, lots of crisp eating went on for us, then we were pleasantly surprised to find that the cameras had already been made for us! Thanks Mo!
Before we went outside to take some shots, we discussed, and looked at the work of pinhole photographers, or as I like to call them… The Holy Photographers! We discussed the work of Justin Quinnell who used his mouth as a shutter, and we also discussed the work of two French guys who swallowed film.
We went out into the street at the ready with our high tech equipment, and took some weird and wonderful photos. I had a fun time convincing people to let me take their photos with a cardboard box!
We had a bit of a challenge judging what would be the right exposure time to create an image on the film, but all was revealed in the darkroom, it was pure magic.
Next week, is Mo going to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat?
Session 6, Friday 29 May
Today at Stills, we were left to our own devices! So the five of us decided that we would go up to Calton Hill, after half an hour of chatting & snacking of course.
We might have been considered “crazy” for going outside after the huge amount of hail that some of us got caught up in, but being true to our ‘Art’ we wanted to capture some great atmospheric shots. We used both Digital, and film cameras as well as black & white and colour film. Cool rig huh!
It was an amazing view, up so high watching the city being circled by storm clouds, very Harry Potterish. To gain an even better vantage point some of the group climbed the base of the columns, which are higher than you think, only for one of the girls to get stuck! But all was well when the group camaraderie rescued her.
On retuning to Stills we were in the digital lab sorting though our best shots, when a couple of the girls discovered Grieg is becoming quite a celebrity and watched his interview with the Fountainbridge Show, as well discovering his Facebook following of 8,645. He’s setting the bar very high, we look forward to seeing his shots from Skye.
Session 7, Friday 5 June
On the second to last week of the course, we were selecting our best work to be shown in the exhibition, to be held at Stills. We first looked at all of our photos, and were surprised at the quantity and quality. We then went up to the digital lab, where we edited and printed our photographs. I was busy scanning my negatives from last week, which I was excited about.
Even though we were hard at work, music was enjoyed and discussed, especially dubstep. Gotta love those beats!
It will be sad for next week to be the final session before our exhibition! But everyone seems to have really enjoyed the course.
The Final Session
I'm sad to say that it's the end of the 'Contact Young Photographers Club' Over the course we've been exploring different styles and techniques, including; film, pinhole and digital photography. I especially like the session where we went out shooting with our pinhole cameras, as it was a new and interesting experience for all of us! On the last couple of sessions we have been looking at our huge collection of work, then we were narrowing down our photographs to be shown at the final exhibition. All the work that was presented was of a high standard, the pictures were all unique and showed that we all have interesting and differing talents to pursue. I've been involved with the club for a couple of years now, and I’m glad to say that this group had a really special bond, and I look forward to seeing what’s coming up next.