Picturing Place Downtown

Thursdays, June 29th – August 3rd from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
at the Hillsdale Community Library

A series of 6 free photography workshops for youth in grades 5th- 8th.  With historic downtown Hillsdale as the subject, participants will learn ways that photographers document the spirit and identity of a place and they will explore vintage and handmade photographic technologies such as large format photography, panorama photography and stereoscopic photography.

Please bring a small camera.  All other materials and equipment are provided.

Picturing Place Downtown Workshop Session Descriptions Download

Session 1: Thursday, June 29th

Capturing a Sense of Place, Photographic Design

During the Picturing Place summer workshop series participants, will learn about sense of place and ways that people have used photography throughout its history to capture a sense of place in their images. This first session will explore work by National Geographic photographers and begin to investigate some of downtown Hillsdale’s distinct characteristics that contribute to its strong sense of place with their own cameras.

Session 2: Thursday, July 6th 

First Photographs of Place

In 1839 Louis Jacques Daguerre announced the details of the first commercial photographic process, the daguerreotype. Daguerre was also the inventor of the diorama, a type of 19th century entertainment that featured life sized illusions of distant lands recreated on large translucent screens.  During this workshop, participants will learn more about dioramas and how the desire to experience faraway places led to the invention of the daguerreotype process.  Participants will explore how contemporary photographers use dioramas in their photographic practice to create a sense of place and then create their own photographs using similar techniques.

Session 3: Thursday, July 13th

First Pictures of Nature, Talbot’s Mousetrap Camera

Henry Fox Talbot created the earliest surviving photographic negative in 1835, taken of a small window at his home, Lacock Abbey (views of Lacock Abbey are featured in Harry Potter films!). Talbot’s interest in photography grew from his desire to create more realistic images of landscapes.  This workshop will explore Talbot’s salted paper process, his mousetrap camera designs, and his book titled, “The Pencil of Nature’.

Session 4: Thursday, July 20th

Expanding Landscapes

In 1900, the world’s largest camera of its time was on display at the Chicago World’s fair.  It was built by American George Lawrence for a commission to make a single continuous panoramic image of a passenger train.  The commissioned photograph was 4.5 feet high by 8 feet long; and the camera when loaded with its glass plate weighed over 1,500 pounds!  While not all panoramic cameras are that big, their photographs do all expand our view of place by stretching the edges of the frame beyond the human eye’s normal field of view.  During this workshop, participants will explore ways that panoramas are used to emphasize scale of place and they will also experiment with two types of panorama techniques using downtown Hillsdale as the subject.

Session 5: Thursday, July 27th

Place in Three Dimensions

The Holmes Stereoscope was invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes around 1860.  It was not the first stereoscope, but eventually it was the one that made viewing stereoscopic photographs accessible to a wider American audience.  People who had never traveled outside their own community could look at views from around the world and across their own country from the comfort of their home, or school or public library.  Stereoscopic photographs depicted place in a whole new way, much like virtual reality does today. During this workshop, participants will learn how to view photographs of place in 3-d and how to make them!

Session 6: Thursday, August 3rd

People and Place

It’s often said that it’s the people you meet that make a place so special.  People and their shared culture can contribute to a strong sense of place that can also be captured through photography. Place is both a geographic location and a period in time. Clothing, mannerisms, hair styles, the everyday technologies that surround us can all create a sense of place.  Lewis Hine did this in the 1930’s with his photos of Ellis Island immigrants and American laborers, Robert Frank did this in his controversial book The Americans, and fashion photographer Richard Avedon captured a sense of place in his portraits of people in his series, The American West.  During this workshop, participants will explore different approaches to creating portraits that convey a strong sense of place.