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  1. #1

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    Photography with disposable cameras?

    Im going to be starting a photography workshop in a few weeks that will run over the course of the summer with a small group of teenagers who are from distressed backgrounds or "disadvantaged" (a word i hate to use!)
    i did a photography course about 3 years ago, and i am aware of all the aspects of photography. i think i am pretty good at it, i wouldnt say im professional, but i do know a fair bit with regards to digital photography, and personally, i much prefer film photography. i love photography as a hobby mainly.
    unfortunately, our budget isnt going to be very high, so we are going to be using disposable cameras. i believe that any camera can take a brilliant picture, and that just because someone might have the best of the best equipment, doesn't mean they are a good photographer. but obviously, its just point and shoot on a disposable camera, and messing around with shutter speeds and apertures etc are completely out for us!

    this is a project i want to do with these kids to get them to express themselves. i mainly want them to just enjoy it and keep interest in it. im very nervous about it too. and it will be a great learning experience for me too. i have never taught something in a official kind of way. i want this to be a fun, relaxing (almost theraputic) and exciting experience for these kids. i want it to be more about them coming out of themselves rather than taking a perfect picture.

    has anyone any tips on teaching this course??
    does anyone have any tips on how to get the most out of a disposable camera??

    i bought some today and have been messing around with one around my house but wont know until they are developed what i'll be working with. i also plan on letting them edit their pictures with a free software (picassa maybe) on the community centers computers (after i scan in all of their pics!) and we are going to have a little exhibition for them at the end of the summer, just with parents and friends, something small.
    im really excited, but before i start it,i want to be prepared and any ideas, tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!

    just a note to everyone, i was really inspired to do this after seeing a very interesting documentary a few months back. a photographer travelled to calcutta to document the red light district there. she started teaching the kids, who were children of prostitutes, photography to give them some kind of outlet. and it was well and truly worth the watch. its called Born into Brothels, and if you haven't seen it, it is definitely worthwhile!

  2. #2

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    Sounds like an interesting and quite possibly a very rewarding project! Something kids might end up teaching adult something instead....

    I think use of disposable camera is a great idea. Not only would it not let you choose shutter speed and aperture, it actually frees you from all the technicality we all get way too involved in from time to time. What you got is a camera and your view of the world - nothing else.

    I know there are several types of these available. It might be interesting to let your kids choose color type and B&W type. I know Kodak has a C-41 B&W type. I'd imagine you'll end up getting film scanned at the lab....

    I'd actually be interested in seeing your exhibition if you can make it somehow available online.

    Is this going to be done in the United States? Maybe if you approach businesses, they can donate you some of those cameras? I bet there are expired ones available....

    Good luck to you.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    People only learn from being challenged and being able to use/practice what they are told. Focus solely on the creative side... posing, lighting, composition, balance, etc. because they'll have no control of anything else. Nothing is worse than being "taught something" without any control to put it to use. What they cannot practice/control is useless to them. Only teach them what they can use/practice with the tools entrusted to them. Empowerment is everything.

  4. #4

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    By the way.... WELCOME TO APUG!!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5
    Katie's Avatar
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    Awesome - i will be doing a similar class this summer with young kids (like 10 year olds). Disposable cameras are a great idea. I was considering making pinhole cameras...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katie View Post
    Awesome - i will be doing a similar class this summer with young kids (like 10 year olds). Disposable cameras are a great idea. I was considering making pinhole cameras...
    Katie... for ten-year-old kids pinhole cameras are perfect but they need to learn the science and process of making their own cameras... then they need to do just that. This will deeply enrich their experience.

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  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Ursula:

    Welcome to APUG.

    I don't know where you are, but if you have a local lab, this sounds like the sort of project that a lab may want to help sponsor.

    Free publicity for some developing, scanning and printing might be a real easy promotion.

    It couldn't hurt to ask.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    Disposable cameras are OK, but this is where a cheap digital camera might be better. Not only are the images easier to get, they are also easier to share, either with the group or the world. It is also the medium of their generation. As fun as we may find the photochemical process, it does not alway translate--and is the project of exploring and sharing their world (I hate "self-expression") or is it to learn a photographic process? If it is the former, then a digital camera is really going to free them to explore photography as a creative medium without being bogged down with technical problem, or at least fewer technical problems.

    You will need a frame work in which to focus the kids and get them to work. The trick is to make it flexible so you can adjust with the reality of the student's ability--since this is your first time, it is easy to under- or overestimate what they can do. Having an overarching goal and a way to build on skills to get there are important. I have found there are no tricks to education, just well thought out planning and the ability to adjust as the situation demands.

    I do quite a bit of instruction in imaging, desktop publishing, and design at the undergraduate level with folks outside those fields including teenagers. Children get even harder are their ability to think abstractly is developing and at some young ages, like 6 or so, then have no way to think abstractly.

  9. #9
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Disposable cameras are actually more expensive and are limiting in terms of creativity. They also usually never have 36 shots either nowadays, usually 12-24. Getting rolls processed outside adds up quickly. But they are good for getting everyone their own camera instead of sharing if your plan is to let them take them home. You can hack a disposable to remove the film it has and put your own in to reuse too which will make it considerably cheaper if you load up with bw.

    If your community center has a darkroom make use of it and have the students learn to use it for b&w.

    I would recommend you to reread some of your intro to photography books again just to cover yourself if students have questions especially about the many related variables in photography. Borrow photo books from the library and show them examples of great photography and what makes it great. Expose them to varied subjects to and styles, at this age they emulate well. People these days are bombarded with too much visual garbage.

    Pinholes and camera obscuras are fun projects, I actually wrapped that up with my students this week. Fun results, we even got older students to sit for a long exposure indoors haha. The most challenging thing I find is that kids these days like instant results, or are used to snapping away 10 images at a time with their cellphones or Nintendo portables and can get carried away and before you know it half a roll is gone dedicated to one subject like a game screen or a computer, or lose interest if they can't wait to see what develops on the film a few days later.

  10. #10
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Disposable cameras can have two advantages for learners:
    - They allow to be concentrated solely on composition. So the course should be a course on composition (I suppose no artificial lighting);

    - They force to think twice before taking the pictures. Digital cameras would just yield a great number of pictures. Film cameras force the learner to analyse the scene more carefully and to give up a picture if it doesn't look good enough, and I think this is very important especially for the beginner.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

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