Monday, October 27, 2008

Source Photographic Review

Contemporary photography is documented quarterly in Source magazine. They have established links with University Graduate shows to publish an online graduate gallery.

The DIT do have representation, but not from fine art. The School of Media BA in Photography are represented by 11 students in 2008. Registration is easy, a fee of €33 is charged and with it come four free editions of Source Photographic Review

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pinhole Images by Kordula Packard Sherkin Island

These images were created using coffee can pinhole cameras on 27 & 28 September as as part of an Arts Council sponsored artist in the community Project on Sherkin Island. A pinhole camera was made by each participant and so each had their own unique piece of equipment. The paper negatives were developed in a temporary darkroom on the Island and then scanned into photo editing software to be inverted to a positive image. No other digital alterations have been made. They are as you see them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the forbidden and the impossible

"in a way I try to photograph, what cannot be photographed"
Barbara Ess - Pinhole Photographer

People often discuss contemporary art wondering what does it mean? French philosopher, Jacques Ranciere proposes;

"a concept of artistic modernity, which lodges the forbidden within the impossible, by making modern art as a whole, art constitutively dedicated to the witnessing of the non representable" p15, Rancier J 2006 "The Ethical Turn of Aesthetics and Politics" Critical Horizons 7:1 pp1-20

"I Am Not This Body" photographs by Barabara Ess, essays by Barbara Ess, Michael Cunningham, Thurston Moore, and Guy Armstrong

Solargraphs so far

This is a collection of negative and positive solargraphs in an experimental phase.

Click on the images above to see them enlarged

Monday, October 20, 2008

Global Map of Solargraphy

Tarja Trygg emailed me the images from the film cans I sent to Finland for her Global Map of Solargraphy. I am very pleased with the results. It is quite astounding how much colour is in teh image considering the paper is B&W.

Both images were exposed for the period 20-06-08 to 21-09-08 and despite having the worst Summer in decades - the sun is a constant throughout.

These images have been uploaded to the gallery on the website

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pinhole images from Jo Jefferies Sherkin Island

These images were created using coffee can pinhole cameras over one weekend at the end of September on Sherkin Island. The paper negatives were developed in a temporary darkroom on the Island and then scanned into photo editing software to be inverted to a positive image. No other digital alterations have been made.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wochenklasur at ev+a 2006

The plus sign (+) incorporated into the word ‘visual+’ in the exhibition’s title and with the letter ‘v+’ in the logo, does not represent the conjunction ‘and’. Rather, it calls attention to the fact that that art as product and process engages and integrates all the senses, not mainly or only the visual sense. All art springs from how we perceive through all our – at psychology’s recent count – eleven senses.

At the invitation of the sixth EV+A Biennial in Limerick, Ireland, WochenKlausur realized the “Belltable Open”, a cinema with a special film program targeted at ethnic minorities. Because cinema and film are important cultural catalysts, WochenKlausur conceived a monthly film event for immigrants at the Belltable Arts Centre. Every month, immigrants from a different country would be given the opportunity to arrange screenings on a free evening. In order to arrange showings of the movies selected by the immigrants, WochenKlausur contacted film distributors, production companies, festivals and directors around the world, negotiating with them for access to prizewinning films free of charge. A free admission policy enabled everyone to see the films, regardless of income. The group also succeeded in organizing buses to transport people from the city’s three refugee centers to the evening film events.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lyon Festival of Light

Photo source

Lyon in France is host to an amazing Lighting Festival. Maybe we could learn something from their experience - I am particularly thinking about the regeneration of Limerick, which desperately needs some inspiration and hope.

As a city develops, it becomes necessary to design area-specific lighting plans including the adaptation of light to the rhythms of city life, the reduction of light pollution and in order to realise these aspirations, a bringing together of urban lighting expertise.

The Lyon region has all the necessary expertise relating to town lighting, from research, to material production, to lighting design. In September 2004, a training scheme was initiated in partnership with the AFE (Association Française de l'Eclairage, French Lighting Association), leading to the qualification of 'Outdoor Spaces Lighting Electrician'. The setting up of such a project with the French Department of Education is proof that Lyon sets a shining example - and not just in its lighting.

Camera Obscura

Tanya Kiang, Director of the Gallery of Photography, Templebar, Dublin wrote a great essay exploring the history of the camera obscura as a prelude to building one in Dublin. The article
was written for Circa magazine in 2001. The Camera Obscura had not been built when I visited in June 2008, so I guess it will take a little longer now that we are crunched.

She cites the following artists who use camera obscura in their work.

Paul Brewer

Jacqueline Griggs

Lindsay Seers

Barbara Ess


Photographer, Marc Holden, gave a great explanation today on calculating exposure times.

When an f stop is halved, the area of aperture is reduced but the value increases (counter intuitively). The diagram demonstrates this and the relationship with exposure time.

diagram reference

Using a light metre on his Hasselblad, we determined that in the light conditions prevailing we needed an exposure of - 100 ASA film for 0.25 sec at 4.5fstop

but we were using an old Meagher camera like the one pictured below

To extrapolate the values taking into account we were using a paper negative of 6 ASA.

Adding 25% for reciprocity failure the total time required is 5 seconds.

Reciprocity failure is a characteristic of 'slow' film and the following table gives an indication of the compensation required.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

X-ray photography

I am trying to work something out in my head -

I want to print the solargraphs in a way that preserves there delicate luminosity and also in a way that is consistent with my research aims.

I have been thinking about printing to film - ideally the weight and size of an x-ray - so maybe why not an x-ray. Trying to find out information about this type of printing is difficult. Below are the references I have far.

Artist Nick Veasey has a great website and his worked is featured along with other artists in Cult Case an online culture and art magazine that did a special feature on xray photography. The interdisciplinary crossover of Floral Radiography also provides some great images.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Public Art

This interactive installaton has x-factor appeal!

Marie Sester trained as an architect before diverting her interests to public art specifically with respect to transparency, visibility and access.

Her installation ACCESS combines all three interests. Using surveillance technology, a website, a robotic spotlight and an acoustic beam system, remote users can lock the spotlight onto unidentifed individuals in public space.

Sester says;'Some people will really hate it and run away, while others will just enjoy being under the light, but it’s my job to look at values and assess how you get access to information, and how we behave within those values. I want to look at things that we accept as a given, generation after generation, the things that make up a whole world, a whole system. ACCESS, with its embodiment of the pleasures and fears of authority, surveillance, and control, offers a good starting point'.

Guerrilla Lighting Dublin

Theresa Shibhan writes in light for Guerilla Lighting,
Glasgow 23rd November 2008.

Just this evening Guerilla Lighting lit up Smithfield and the Four Courts in Dublin as part of their campaign to promote sustainable architectural lighting. See the RTE News report here
Lighting events worldwide bring public art to where people are, they illuminate, spotlight, highlight, radiate, inspire and … often provoke.

Projects draw attention to our surroundings and associated understandings. They can imagine the world in a new light or reveal darkly hidden secrets. It can encompass public, private, internal and external spaces. The following links demonstrate the exciting breadth of lighting practices.

SwitchedOnLondon, 2008

LightsOnTampa, 2006

Lights in Alingsås, Sweden 2008


Artist Sarah Pierce and curator Annie Fletcher hosted a paraeducation workshop at the National Sculpture Factory, Cork on June 21st this year. A disparate group assembled to talk, to share, to provoke and to stimulate debate.

This is an extract from Organising and Art Practice, which outlines what motivated Pierce & Fletcher.

'When artists strategically apply modes of practice or methodologies used by other fields such as social work, education, community organizing, etc. to their own work it is often to build certain relationships (social, economic, political) and/or to subvert others through what might be termed 'socially engaged' practice. In many ways, this transfer of technique is an unambiguous response to trends that emerge through the institutionalization of art and its marketability, as well as to established patterns of trade regarding the instrumentalization of artists under the welfare state and their subsequent disenfranchisement under neo-liberalism. The artist does not function outside of society, but under what terms the artist will/can/should function under is open to debate. What we do know is that artists often use modes of practice relevant to, or originating through other fields in their own work. At times this process might lead to misinterpretations or distortions. At others, it can lead to understanding and respect. Here, practice is an ongoing channel, a way to learn from and relate apparently disparate pursuits (art-work and social-work) in order to impart common concerns.

An important step in this process requires pausing and asking: What is the role of the artist? How can the artist act in a given situation? What is the artist's purpose? Much of the criticism surrounding art-work that models the types of interactions rooted in social-work (or community-work, or education) either faults a generic instrumentalizing of art, (which is sometimes but not always the case, especially in artist-led projects) or faults the artist through an assessment of their effect. Analysis of 'positive' effect habitually alleges that the artist is filling-in where social service providers, and thereby the state, have failed; and analysis of 'negative' effect usually lapses into a plea for artists to leave social-work 'to the professionals'. In each instance it is important to ascertain whether a particular discursive moment is looking closely at the project at hand or is speaking generally, and more importantly, whether it functions to further a dialogue between different models of social interaction or end one'.

"Organizing and Art Practice", The Paraeducation Department, eds. Sarah Pierce and Annie Fletcher, Interface:Belfast 2006. Also published in Tracer 2, Wittte de With/TENT:Rotterdam 2005.

Public Art

'Public art is not, according to my approach, art in the public space, but an art that institutes a public space, a space of common action among people'

Chantal Mouffe - Cork Caucus 2005

'She Changes', 2002, Porto, Portugal, Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman is a sculptor who shapes urban space. She transforms sites that are either unnoticed infrastructure that have faded from public memory, or iconic landmarks that are so overexposed they become almost invisible. At each location she considers the visual language and materials of the place, the historical ways of making things, and the current way that people move through the space. Using the physical environment to create living, breathing pieces, the work is often made of flexible, diaphanous materials that allow air currents to move and shape the sculptures. Passers-by are encouraged underneath or inside the sculpture's form, making them an active part of the piece rather than discreet viewers of it.

In an article in Newsweek regading controversy surrounding a public artwork for Phoenix, Arizona, she commented, 'It's good for art to make us think, to give us a shared experience that creates a dialogue, makes us talk to each other, including strangers'

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Solargraph Baltimore Harbour

This solargraph was taken using a coffee can pinhole camera and Jessops VC paper. It was exposed for the period between 20 - 06- 08 and 02 - 10 - 08. The camera was located at 51 28'91 N 09 22'70 W.

Below is the paper negative. One of the beautiful things about solargraphy is that no chemicals are involved in processing the prints, however, I am concerned about the negatives degrading post exposure.

This is where the pinhole camera was mounted - it is a bit askew as I am leaning over a slipway. You can see that the camera is very well taped to prevent camera movement and to make the camera as water proof as possible. Even still there was still water at the bottom of the can when I brought it home. A few hours in my darkened hot press sorted that out - I am always impressed by the durability of the paper - it seems to stand up to the most terrible abuse.

This is the view from where the camera was positioned - admittedly taken by my phone camera - the difference in panorama is quite astonishing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sherkin Island National School

Imagine making your own camera out of a shoe box... a coffee can or ...even a teapot?

You can make a camera from anything with a few materials and lots of imagination.

Here are some examples of pinhole cameras made from ;

So how does a pinhole camera work?

We see things because light from the sun is reflected from the surface of objects through the pupil of the eye and an image is created on our light sensitive retina. Brightness and colour is determined by the nature of the object.

A pinhole camera is very like the human eye in the way that it works. It does not have a lens, it only has a very small aperture (hole) through which an image is projected on sensitised material (film or paper).

Light travels in straight lines through the pinhole aperture and is projected onto light sensitive material at the back of the camera.

The human eye works in exactly the same way - but our brain intereprets the upside down image and puts it back up the right way.

Note that the tree is projected upside down.

So is the rabbit!

This diagram shows what the inside of a pinhole camera looks like.

Photographic paper is placed opposite the pinhole and when exposed to light forms an image then it is processed with developing fluids.

Now look at some pinhole images made on Sherkin Island.

Another form of pinhole photography is called solargraphy.

Today we are going to mount some cameras for a solargraphy projectand leave them exposing for a three month period.

We will collect them on December 21st at the Winter solstice when the sun is at its lowest height in the sky. Hopefully the camera will record the sun track as it sinks in the sky.

We will send the cameras to Finland to be part of a global solargraphy project.

The best laid plans...

I had a lovely afternoon at Sherkin national school. The children were marvellous, asking questions and thinking carefully about the complex processes involved and all without the aid of diagrams or photos.

I thought I had covered all eventualities. I had checked with the teacher that the school had an internet connection and data projector - which they did, but I had forgotten about net nanny. Both the blog - with all the information and photos that I had prepared - and the solargarphy website were not allowed to be viewed. Next time I will bring data on a memory stick.

Fortunately, I had brought quite a few cameras with me. An antique bellows camera which I have on loan from Alison Trim, the SLR Pinhole, a standard digital camera and some sample pinhole cameras (coffee cans and film cans) and photographic paper so that the children could actually see and feel the materiasl involved. I also had some images that had been made at the workshop last weekend and a catalogue of Harry Moores work on Cork docklands.

The children enthusiastically selected places for 4 coffee can cameras and two film can cameras to be mounted for a 12 week solargraphy exposure. Fingers crossed now that they are not knocked by footballs and sliotars!

I am looking forard to going back to the school in December as close as I can to the winter solstice.

More Sherkin Pinhole Images