Rinki stares patiently into a hole in a box while her face is lit up by a dozen light bulbs.
Her intent expression will be captured the old fashioned way, on photographic paper. This is photography down to its basics, a six by six feet camera obscura, made with a magnifying lens and a box put together with recycled material.
P. Madhavan, of Goa Centre for Alternative Photography, or Goa-CAP, calls this ‘Slow Photography’, an experiment with the aesthetic medium in its purest form. The Goa-CAP in collaboration with the Khoj International Artists’ Association, held a weeklong workshop on ‘Slow Photography’ in Delhi’s Khidki Village from 18-24 October. Its was to bring the creative experience of photography to school going kids, stripped of its complex technology and high cost.
The Obscura that doubles up as a mobile camera and darkroom is a walk-in lab for kids to understand the basic science of photography. As Edson Dias, founding member of Goa CAP, disappears into the Obscura he is followed in by a couple of curious kids. Awestruck they follow entire process right inside the obscura.
From fixing the frame and capturing on photographic paper, the flickering inverted image that filters through the magnifying glass, to the various stages of processing the image, they closely watch each step.
The results may not satisfy a professional, but for the children, it was worth the effort.
“The picture quality was not perfect, but when we saw the outcome of our labour it was a thrilling experience,” shares a visibly excited Aradhana, also a participating in the workshop.
Here children were also taught to make pinhole cameras, which are one-time use handmade devices made from a photographic reel, a matchbox, dark tape and a small piece of aluminium foil to serve as aperture. “It took us about 10 -15 minutes to make this camera, and it costs as little as Rs70,” says Radha, one of the youngest participants.
Armed with these pocket-sized cameras, the kids captured images around Khidki, as part of the programm that is aimed to equip them to document their subculture in the village.
“We believe that artistes have a social responsibility and art must serve a purpose to raise and answer concerns of the people,” says Madhavan. In keeping with this the images captured by the children will be exhibited from 27-31 October at Khoj Studios in Kidki Village.