STEAM Team: A pin hole to a new world

Friday, Febraury 15th, a few PRM students were taken back in time to view their world in a way they had never conceived of before. PRM’s STEAM team is piloting a program bringing together multiple disciplines centering around pinhole photography using traditional light sensitive and chemical processes. Photography has the ability to freeze a moment for us to look back upon. It frames it in such a way that it allows us to see, feel and experience the past again and we often see new things as we do this and experience how others see, much like a news story. Pinhole photography, in its other worldly characteristics, gives us a photographic image that is scientific, but not exact leaving young minds to wonder and marvel. The students are making their own cameras out of oatmeal cans and using pop cans to create a lens with a pin size hole to focus the light onto a light sensitive piece of paper. Friday, the team huddled out in the garden to hold still for a whole minute while the image was exposed. They then developed the image in a darkroom in a box on a table. What they found is that there is a difference in what they expected the camera to show and what appeared on the paper as they watched the latent image appear in the tray of liquid developer. Their excitement played across their faces with smile and laughter.  The pinhole image is much like our memory, a little fuzzy and distorted, but the impression of the person or of the object is there evoking feelings and stories. The students immediately began to talk about the images as a boy with no face or a mysterious being imagining their cameras could zap them to another world. The students are about to embark upon a journey that is scientific, with trial and error as they make their own cameras and find the right amount of time to expose their picture. They will understand light, chemistry, math and technology in a completely new way as they create a camera not made by a factory, but by their own hands. They will travel to a flexible world as they look at their images and work on creative writing finding the art that is in photography, in the product of this science. They will be scientist and artist, technologist and ecologist.

Jackie Bonfield, Kate McGreevy and Missy Kyrlach are the conductors of this pilot. A dream was envisioned by an artist for pinhole images and two awesome teachers had a vision of STEAM that paired together to create this collaboration.