Good: The first shipment of film has returned from Istanbul. Bad: The closet darkroom we built for the pinholes has been pillaged by the construction crew working on the school toilets (they stole my pens! and exposed all the paper) .... Only a few days remaining with the highschoolers of Adiyaman, Turkey. Went by very quickly.
(If you haven’t read previous blogs of mine, I am teaching Photography (with the help from Lomography in Istanbul who has lent me 20 cameras) to highschoolers within a simultaneous English-teaching program in southeast Turkey, a historic city called Adıyaman. These are some of the photos from the students (ie. not photo “by kevinrouff”))
So the Good News is that the first shipment of film has returned from Istanbul!
2 rolls short… I’m guessing they were flops.
In any case, very very glad to see results. And very interesting results!
Lots of double exposures, especially on the medium formats – Diana F+. Quite a few underexposed, but usually the quality of photos progressed throughout each roll. Not every student got a roll, whereas some got 3. I hope in the end every student will have at least one, and most will have two or three.
What is interesting is what caught their eye.
Usually, our eyes point towards the “strange”. Here, everything is Strange (“tuhaf”) for me, and consequently I am attracted to the architecture, the old walls, and the people going about daily tasks. However, for these students, that is part of their norm, and thus their eyes tend to dance towards other things. Nature was a favorite – nature is always Strange.
I encouraged looking for subjects (“konu”) and they did – it helped. I didn’t want to impose a foreigner’s eye on their images, something you might call the outsider’s outsideness. I was hoping for them to go from within the norms, and develop (pun) their own form of outsideness.
Outsideness is not at all a limiting distance, just as a frame of a picture isn’t necessarily a restriciton but a part of the piece itself, a reminder of the difference between reality and art (rather than feigning as a window into another world). I wanted them to explore subjects in order to develop this productive and incorporative distance into the way they look at their world when equipped with a camera (or without). It’s “pointing” as John Szarkowski said. Pointing requires that special (perhaps abstract) distance, an arm’s-length, one that allows you to gesture forward and direct the eyes of others.
Anyways, enough bla bla. More of that later, when I return to Istanbul.
This morning, went into the darkroom to get some equipment. The place had construction tools in it, and my box of teaching equipment was emptied everywhere. The pinhole cameras were all ripped up, and the photo paper, both boxes, totally ripped apart and emptied. Thanks bathroom constructors. (I guess being next to the “kız” bathroom was a mistake in the end).
Really bummed on that. I cannot buy anymore paper out here, and will have to draw the pinhole project to a sad end.
Fortunately, we did get those few photos. So they understand the process. I will leave the chemicals and safe bulb here with the program director, and hopefully ship more paper later so that they may continue pinholes, perhaps this upcoming year in school. Also, I will use the exposed paper to try “Solargraphy” (google it). I will leave it to them to try it (take a month or more I think).
Anyways, check out our photos on my album for now. More to come in good time.
Tomorrow is the last day of teaching. This month has gone very very fast.