Photograms and pinholes | Sat 11th August

Photograms and Pinholes

An experimental worksop day exploring the basics of photochemical image making on paper through making images on light sensitive paper without a cameras and also with a simple lensless pinhole camera. by the end of the day you will take away photogram images on cyanotype paper a pinhole camera of your own and photographs taken with it.

Day Course

You will be on the course with a maximum of one other person to ensure that you will get the best experience out of the day. The course will introduce you to the basic  techniques for pinhole photography and photograms:

  • A brief study of examples of pinhole photographs and photograms
  • Preparation of cyanotype paper for photograms
  • Cyanotype exposure test strip
  • Creating and developing two A4 sized photograms with pre prepared cyanotype paper
  • Making a pinhole camera from a readymade container
  • Estimating exposure times
  • exposure test strips
  • taking photographs with your pinhole camera using positive photographic paper
  • processing your  photographs in the darkroom

No previous experience required. All materials and lunch* will be provided. The course will be led by Hugh Davies.

* Lunch will be vegetarian/pescatarian using locally sourced products where possible. Please advise us in advance of any specific dietary requirements.

Tickets – Sold out – next course date 3rd November

Please order tickets below or contact us if you have any queries.

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Terms and information

Please be aware that all courses are held on the first floor which is only accessible by stairs. Please contact us  before booking if you have mobility issues so we can endeavour to accommodate your needs. All participants must be over 18 unless otherwise stated. 

If you wish to cancel your booking then please contact us as soon as possible . We regret that refunds cannot be given for cancellations received less than two weeks before the start date of the course. We will offer alternative dates for cancellations up to 48 hours before the start of the course. If we need to cancel a course for whatever reason we will notify all participants as soon as possible and issue full refunds.

By booking you confirm you have read and agreed to these terms.

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Anna Atkins | cyanotype pioneer

Cyanotype photogram of fern by Anna Atkins

Anna Atkins (nee Children) was born in Tunbridge in Kent in 1799.  Her mother died a few months later. An only child Anna was brought up by her father. Following his example she took an interest in science and botany. She was a talented illustrator and provided the engravings for an english language translation of Jean-Baptiste de Monet Lamaercks ” Genera of Shells” which was translated by her father and published in 1823 when she was just 24. The following year she married John Pelly Atkins.

Following her marriage she continued her interest in Botany and at the age of 40 she became a member of the Botanical Society in London, one of the few scientific societies which was open to women.

Anna’s father and her husband were friends of the early photographic pioneers William Henry Fox Talbot and Sir John Herschel. Sir John Herschel invented the cyanotype process in 1842 and Anna immediately saw its potential to provide illustrations of her extensive collection of dried seaweed specimens . She self published the first part of her book “Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions” just a year later in October 1843. Handwritten and produced in very limited quantities ( just 12)  it remains an influential use of cyanotype prints and the first ever book to be illustrated with photographic images, beating William Fox Talbots first photographic book by several months.  By 1850 Anna had produced 12 additional parts to the book.

Cyanotype of Seaweed by Anna Atkins
Cyanotype of Seaweed by Anna Atkins

In 1854 working with her friend Anne Dixon she produced a further publication entitled Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns. Anna Atkins died in 1871.

Anna’s use of cyanotypes was both pioneering and inventive. Copies of her books remain in the worlds most prestigious libraries and due to there scarcity and significance have fetched over £200,000 in auction (2004).

Her work was featured in a recent exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam  entitled “New Realities Photography in the Nineteenth Century”  ( June – September 2017)

Read about the Cyanotype process