last few weeks, I’ve been working with Newcastle based artist,
Sebastian Trend to plan a Great North Run Culture workshop for young
people. It’s called Runaway Billboard and is inspired by Dan Holdsworth’s Landscape and Duration commission.
Dan’s images are captured over an extended exposure time, the images
created in the workshop with Sebastian are shot in seconds with handmade
The workshops, which ran over three sessions, were brilliant! We
spent a lot of time making our pinhole cameras out of matchboxes;
they’re pretty fiddly to make but look so cute! We all loved how they
look almost like a little digital camera but have the most basic camera
technology within them. We had a good few adventures around the Customs
House (the venue for the workshops). We wandered into South Shields,
including a trip to the funfair and along the sea front to meet some
permanent residents of South Shields, known to our young people as
‘Wibbly Wobblies’! There was a near miss with a seagull and despite
losing my sandwiches to the cheeky bird, my finger remained intact - the
things I’ll endure in the name of art!
It turns out that despite the pinhole cameras being really simple in
their construct, making decent images from them isn’t. Timing is the
key, as is keeping the cameras extremely steady. Whilst I know the
basics of capturing a good photo, I’m not a photographer. I’ve learnt a
lot, as with a pinhole camera you operate everything, including the
exposure time. This means you need to asses the light conditions so as
not to over or under expose…
…I’m not completely hopeful of a pinhole photography career, having
realised that throughout one workshop, the winder was not taking the
film on any further and I had basically just taken about twenty shots on
one exposure. Nevertheless, I’ve since filled the roll and some of the
shots are very interesting to look at.
The young people taking part in the workshop have created some really
beautiful work and Sebastian and I are looking forward to getting it to
the display stage. The install is next week, giving the workshop
participants the opportunity of installing a public exhibition and
showing off some of their work.