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Workshops and Inset days

A practical workshop is probably the best way to learn the joy of pinhole photography.

Over the past 30 years I have refined my lectures and workshops to give as much information to as many people as the given time allows.

The courses are stimulating, enjoyable and structured to meet individual group requirements, whether a primary school, a company team building day or a week long workshop at a university.

I endeavour to provide all materials including setting up a portable darkroom.

I am a qualified teacher (PGCE Secondary - Design and Technology) with over 6 years full and part time experience in an inner city school in Bristol. I am also a part time lecturer at Falmouth University.

What Happens?

Depending upon facilities, a day's workshop can include:

  • A PowerPoint presentation on the: science, history, contemporary approaches and my own work.

  • Everyone making a 'Drink can camera' and using it with photographic paper and darkroom chemicals to create black and white paper negatives.

  • Everyone making and loading cameras that can take 6-month duration exposures.

  • Giving out templates for 35mm colour film cameras and exposing a colour film using electronic flash.

  • Exposing a camera to take a 360-degree panorama.

  • Demonstration of other cameras.

Who is it for?

Anyone can benefit from encountering the wonder of pinhole photography. In the past this has included: Primary and secondary schools, Universities, Hospitals, Prisons, Festivals, Businesses, Clubs and societies, Teachers and (a few) bored rich people!
I have run workshops in places as diverse as: a tent in a festival, a railway tunnel and even in a cave.


How many people?

The most I have lectured to is 250 and the largest workshop was to 75 (fun but bonkers!) A maximum of around 16 per session is more productive.
There are some limits with time and space when it comes to processing photographic materials and watching the images appear.
With small children some assistance with management of groups is useful!



I provide all the materials although, if travelling by coach, train or plane, some items may need to be provided due to transportation. I also (as yet) do not have my own digital projector.


Where do I travel?

For one-day workshops I prefer to work within a day's journey from my hometown of Bristol in the UK, further distances can be negotiated.

If you require me to do a workshop somewhere warm and can provide accommodation for my wife and 2 kids near a beach that would be fab!

How much?

From £250 per day including all materials (travel and accommodation may be extra as would an added CPD - inset course for teachers).
Part day lectures and workshops can be arranged but if it is necessary to construct a darkroom, this can take some time. Large numbers of participants (20+) will also add a small amount extra to the cost.


What aspects of the national curriculum does the course cover?

Science, chemistry, optics, history, art, recycling, astronomy, design and technology, ICT.


"Justin's workshops enthuse and inspire our students. They are jam packed with information, creative and hands on. The students use the work that they make as part of their coursework. The day flies by! "
Zoe Kingston, photography teacher, Beaufort Community School.


"The children and I have loved the opportunity to do something totally different. They have been amazed at the simplicity of photography and the ease with which you can produce some amazing images. Justin made pinhole photography a magical, yet scientifically plausible experience for the children. What's more, we produced some beautiful images for our displays. There was creativity, science, photography and lots of fun involved."
Leah Tomlin - Henleaze Junior School

"The best course I've been on in 13 years - fabulous! Can't wait to get back to the classroom and try it."
Katy Devine, Ackworth School, West Yorkshire

More detailed workshop information

The Lecture:

My PowerPoint lecture has evolved over many years and is altered to suit particular audiences. This can range from interested amateur photographers to university students, astronomical and science societies, artists, teachers as well as to primary and secondary school children.

In just over an hour the talk covers: · The simple science of how a pinhole forms an image. · Its fascinating 500 million year history (!) covering its use in: nature, perspective, optics, astronomy and photography · The contemporary approaches showing various pinhole cameras (including: Bread rolls, traffic cones, adapted books, holes in the Berlin wall, Cameras made of snow and ice, using holes in a cream cracker, a pinhole suit and various adapted cameras.) and the many images these cameras can produce.

I then show my own work which ranges from images taken with drink cans, wheelie bins, cameras that fit in my mouth, 360-degree images, Wellington boots, underwater cameras and using durations in time from a 1/5000th of a second to 6 month exposures. I also have built up a collection of other pinhole photographer's work, which I use in longer duration workshops.

I make the talk as entertaining and stimulating as possible, including some audience participation as well as an unnerving use of a golf club.

The Workshop:

I show people how to make pinhole cameras out of discarded aluminium drink cans; we then load our cameras with a sheet of traditional photographic paper, take an image, go back to a darkroom and develop it into a black and white negative. The cameras, which take around 10 minutes to make, take a wide-angle picture of 160 degrees. After exposing the paper negative with an exposure of between 5 seconds and a minute (depending upon indoors or outdoor use) the camera is taken back to a 'darkroom' where the paper negative is seen to appear using traditional photographic chemicals.

The whole process from making the camera to creating a final image takes less than an hour although workshops normally result in people want to take several photographs over a longer period of time. The resulting negative image is fascinating in itself, (and rarely encountered in our digital age) but can easily be viewed as a positive using the inverse setting found on most camera phones, combining both traditional and new technologies.

I can fit many other elements into my workshops including the use of colour, 360 degree, paper cameras and many other approaches. With limited time, however, these become simple demonstrations but I do endeavour to allow every participant to take away a small camera, which when installed at their homes after the workshop can take a 6-month duration exposure.

What I need:

I supply the materials although a ready supply of empty aluminium cans is handy. I also need a room, which can be adapted into a simple darkroom. (I provide the red safelights, dishes, chemicals etc). 

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