This week, we stuck to a focus on photography and using cameras. We wanted to zoom in and have the youth focus on specific aspect of composition: texture. You don't always think about texture when you think about photography, so we wanted to challenge the youth to think outside of the box. We started by looking a close-up photos of various textured images: rope, fences, trees, strawberries, and more (you can check out the handout in our curriculum for this project). The youth had to guess what the images were of, and some proved pretty difficult to figure out. Then, we had a discussion about how there's unique and cool textures everywhere and about different ways to capture those through photos.
Next, we did a quick refresher and overview of camera settings like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. This part of the activity was a struggle. Having them sit and listen, while they had they cameras in hand was nearly impossible. We realized later that the best way for the youth to learn how to adjust those settings is to have them learn as they do. In other words, let them play around and experiment with the settings, and then when we're looking at the photos later, we can point out how those setting affected the image. With cameras in hand, the youth went out to take their own texture photos.
The next part of this process was to do cyanotype prints of their photos. Cyanotype is a process where you apply a specific type of ink to cotton paper and that ink changes color when exposed to the sun. We printed the youth's texture photos onto transparent papers. Then, we had the youth attach those photos on transparencies to a clear, plastic board. Next, they covered their paper with the ink and put the paper beneath their photos on the other side of the plastic board. Then, as a group we carried the board outside into the sun. Unfortunately, it was January and we only got the board out as the sun was setting. So, when we brought it back in about 30 minutes later, the cyanotype prints were blurred and didn't really come through. A tip: cyanotype needs to be done with lots of strong sunlight! Still, here are some of those great texture photos they took.