Blog #114 Teaching [Primary] Students to Shoot Film
Many of us are blessed and lucky to have caring and enthusiastic teachers in our primary years. Their attitudes towards learning and the classroom are infectious.
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I teach photography. I have run workshops for students and adults. In the international school where I work we have a darkroom. The students can sign up for a School Extension Activity or SEA Course that is an hour long after school class for about eight weeks. I host a be of these for students usually middle school or high school aged although we have had students participate who were as young as 10 years old.
We use 35mm fully manual cameras and the students learn exposure, developing, and printing techniques. Aside from the fact that it’s loads of fun, there are benefits to teaching photography for me as well.
Firstly, the information and activities needs to be organised and paced appropriately through the lessons. There is a lot of room for error and we must control for as many of these variables as possible as if we were conducting a formal experiment. The developing chemicals and materials must be purchased and in stock ahead of the class and the darkroom instruments must be in fully working condition before the students begin.
Darkroom techniques can vary and the students need just enough information to get results without having to know all of the underlying processes involved in developing film and making prints.
Here’s the simple lesson plan:
It’s a pretty fast paced process and it’s great fun for me and for them. We can graduate to digital at some point and focus on compositional techniques, projects, and series as well in future SEA courses. It’s a true life skill to be able to make decent images. Today, it’s been said that everyone is a photographer. It’s also been said that if you shoot film, you’re a “real” photographer, whereas if you shoot digital, you’re an editor. Either way, preparing students for a lifetime of image making is benefit to them and their families.
If you feel that you have what it takes to teach others, or you think that you might, I encourage you to give yourself the opportunity and see how it goes.
The light is always right.
*Images: © Jeremy H. Greenberg
Where: Hong Kong
Subject: THS Students shooting their first roll of 35mm black and white film
Gear: Leica Minilux Point and shoot 35mm film camera + Agfa Vista Plus 400 Color 35mm film and Kodak Tri-X 400 Black and White 35mm film