Day Two at Penland

Today was April Fool’s Day and I didn’t even notice. Penland is described as an immersive environment for learning and creating, and it really is true. People spend all day in their studios working on their projects, or in our case, learning new techniques and processes to try out in the field. After dinner, many people go back to their studios to work. I was looking for places to hang out and be social, and there really weren’t any. Most of the students are here on 2 month concentration studies, and there are just 2 one-week classes going on right now. The summer is very different, with a totally different level of commitment, and more social activity.

People in other studios wake up and don’t need to concern themselves with the weather each day. In our pinhole photography class, it is all about the weather. We get the best exposures in bright sunlight. Overcast, but bright is okay, although there is not the contrast of sunlight and shadows. And rain is never any good for pinhole photography.

This morning it was overcast with a forecast of rain. It actually wound up clearing and was a nice day. In the morning we went to the Energy Xchange, an artist’s collective where they harness energy from the nearby landfill. I used this opportunity to shoot pinhole pictures with my old film camera outfitted with a commercial pinhole body cap. It was easier to shoot with this that a coffee can and a black bag (to change the film). After I get home I will process these to see how they come out.

In the afternoon I started using film in my pinhole camera, rather than the paper from the day before. My exposure in bright sunlight was 10 seconds. See the post below for an example of a good picture from this day. Just like yesterday, after the film dried, I scanned it into Photoshop to make a positive from a negative and adjust the exposure.

Today I went from one extreme of anal retentive to another. After scanning my pinhole pictures into the computer, I straightened them and added black bars to indicate full frame, but I made sure the black bars were made out of the edges of the pictures. This is an actual indication that this is a full frame. I didn’t mind the imperfections of the bars, but I wasn’t crazy about the shadows and other remnants of the scanning process.

Once I started correcting the bars and removing the shadows, I was bothered that the images were created from paper that wasn’t cut straight. This made me correct the bars and make them straight. I noticed some imperfections in the photo, including tape marks, so I needed to move the black bars in even further to cover the marks. Once I started cropping the photos, it was only one short hop, skip and a jump to crop the photos straight with no black bars, and put standard-width, solid-black bars on each photos.

I went back and fixed all my photos from the yesterday. I even went back and re-uploaded the corrected photos to flickr and my blog.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen