Photography students on show at National Media Museum

Photography students with their pinhole cameras used to create images included in a new exhibition at the National Media Museum

Photographs taken by Bradford College students using pinhole cameras are featuring in a major exhibition at the National Media Museum.

The work of 13 students from the full-time Photography BA (Hons) course and the part-time HNC and HND Photography courses has been selected for display in the ‘Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography’ show which runs at the Bradford-based museum from March 17 to June 25.

The exhibition, which has free entry, is of images captured using photography’s most primitive technique, the pinhole camera, which involves exposing a piece of film using light travelling through a small hole in a light tight box, to produce an image.

It features more than 200 original, unique photographs and 40 cameras from the holdings of the Pinhole Resource Collection, a body of work amassed by co-curators Eric Renner and Nancy Spenner in San Lorenzo, in New Mexico’s Mimbres Valley.

Along with New Mexico History Museum photography curator Daniel Kosharek, they produced the exhibition which ran in the Santa Fe museum, from April 2014 to January 2016, and is now having its first showing outside that venue at the Bradford-based museum.

Bradford College’s photography students were asked to submit images taken in and around Bradford on pinhole cameras they made themselves from a variety of materials including tin cans, cardboard boxes and even a tea strainer.

Sally Robinson, photography lecturer at Bradford College, said: “Students began by experimenting with a variety of materials and media, making cameras out of household boxes and tins and a 3D printed pinhole camera was also created using the latest 3D printing technology.

“Students experimented with a range of film types and photographic papers, and with digital techniques.

“A number of innovative results emerged from these tests, including the use of multiple pinholes in variety of materials, home-designed contraptions built out of wood, and even the use of a tea strainer!

“The back-to-basics aspect of this technique has captured imaginations. One student said they just couldn’t believe they could make a camera out of a coffee tin.

“This collaboration with the museum has given the students the opportunity to consider alternative practices within a wider context, and to gain experience of working on a live brief for a key external organisation.

“The project is part of the ongoing partnership between the National Media Museum, Bradford School of Art and the Northern School of Creative Industries.

“The teaching team are incredibly proud of the students’ efforts and hard work in producing such a variety of responses, and experimenting widely with all aspects of pinhole photography.”

Anyone interested in photography courses at Bradford College is invited to attend the college open event on Saturday, March 18, between 11am and 2pm.

Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography is organised by New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.

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