Pencil of Nature: Historic Photographic Processes
This course is an exploration of the origins of photography. Students will make camera obscuras, pinhole cameras, photogenic drawings, cyanotypes, and salt prints. As each process is introduced, we will look at 19th century photographic examples and read period texts on the technique and implications of the invention. Critical writings on photography by Roland Barthes, Geoffrey Batchen, and Rebecca Solnit will be discussed as we consider what it means to use early photographic processes today. After an introduction to these processes, students will complete a self-defined final project using the process that best suits their concept.
Possible Class Assignment:
- Photogenic Drawings: When Henry Fox Talbot invented photogenic drawing, he described it as the pencil of nature, as it enabled nature to impress its own image onto paper. For this project we will explore the various ways of fixing shadows of objects on paper using Talbots’s early recipes. Bring a selection of objects such as leaves, lace, or other thin translucent materials to place in contact with sensitized paper. We will experiment with three different ways of fixing the images, which result in different colored photographs.
Untitled 1 (from Anthotype Dress Project), 2011
C-print of dress with anthotype inner lining
20 x 20 inches
Courtesy of the artist