The Intrique of Photography

My interest in photography began in grade school when in my 5th grade class we made a camera–a camera of the pinhole variety. I don’t recall that we each had a copy of the photographs we made, but well do I remember the square, black box that was indeed a camera, into which we placed a strip of film, and then, amazingly to me, we produced photographic images.

Possibly I have mentioned before, how, looking back on my childhood years, I perceive the grade schools in Springfield, Mo. to have been exceptional ones. Most people don’t consider Missouri to be a “cutting-edge” state, but during my years at Bailey Elementary School I was introduced to a wide range of experiences. I was taught to operate a jigsaw, and from my faltering, but successful efforts, created a small what-not-shelf. I learned to “throw” pottery, and recall vividly going to one of the colleges to have my piece fired. It was a square vessel of sorts, and when it was returned to me after its time in the furnace, it was quite a different color than when I had presented it. We attended operettas–also at one of the colleges, and within our own school we had an orchestra, in which I played the violin. On Saturdays we went to Pipkin Junior High School and played in a combined grade school orchestra, where our seating on wide, high risers excited me. Our orchestra director’s name was Mr. Blumenthal. Once he took my violin to demonstrate a technique, and I felt pleased he had chosen my instrument, even though he remarked that it felt sweaty! (Guess I was tensed up from such elevated learning!)

Anyway, this morning I was intrigued when I came across this article about photography without a camera, a method called Photograms. The piece also included information about pinhole cameras.

puja photogram leaves

(images via: Puja)

Photograms are, quite simply, photographs made without a camera.  Items are placed on photo-sensitive paper and the whole setup is exposed to light.  After processing, the exposed areas will be dark and the areas covered by the items will appear as negative spaces.  The method is popularly associated with the artist Man Ray, who called his images rayographs.

The entire article is here.

When I saw these pictures this morning, I recalled that the  last time I was home in Crestline I became intrigued with an old bottle, and the shadows it produced. To guage the play of light on my subject, for an hour or so, I carried around that bottle and my camera.


Three steps lead up from our living room to a landing that opens to our bedroom; the landing is made of stone. As I looked that way, I spied this intriguing shadow laid over the stone.

dsc_0031One of the upstairs game room windows provided this shot.

dsc_0033And on the square, oak game table, this one.

Long years removed from my days at Bailey Elementary, I yet retain a sense of wonder at the play of light and shadow on film. Even more remarkable is that the pictures you see here were created sans film. A series of digits produced these images. Amazes me.

13 thoughts on “The Intrique of Photography

  1. Greg te Explorer

    Hey Shirley, great photos. You konw I was thinking about your ideas with photograms and i’m going to give it a go with my children. What I was thinking though was that there is a bit of a glimpse of God in photography – when we expose ourselves to the light of God found in Christ, or allow ourselves to be ‘caught’ by God, there are all sorts of un dreamt of aspects of ourselves that come out.

    Man I am officially jealous of your skill with the light box!




  2. Pingback: » The Intrique of Photography« Shirley Buxton »Digital Photography

  3. I have so enjoyed photography over the years, close to thirty, the things that light and or the lack of cause to happen. The things which you can do with the flat media of film, or digital pictures! What looks like it is may be or may not be. The ability to capture colors that almost seems to hurt the eye, or so soft that you almost question if they are real. The excitement, I have had, of capturing a portion of God’s creation on or in a picture. I have always enjoyed the time of sharing these same pictures with friends and family.

    Keeping burning film or err a digital media.


    You’re right; photography is a rewarding hobby.


  4. Esther

    Don’t forget Sis. Buxton, you have the smartest grandkids in the world. And 5 of them are mine too.

    I’ll take pictures when I do this with our grandchildren…let you see their beautiful faces.


  5. dean

    I remember getting some kind of light sensitive paper by mistake one time. I sat a sheet in the sunlight and it made an image of the window that the light came thru. Kind of freaky actually. Ever heard of that kind Sis.B?

    No, I don’t recall doing this before. I will be trying it, though.


  6. Photography is so interesting. We did photograms in my photography class last semester. We had quite the time seeing what we could come up with in the dark room. Fun times. I love your photos and I love you.

    I love you back. Do you think Photograms is something I could do with my grandchildren…or would it be too hard?


  7. I love these! I’d heard of laying objects on photographic paper years ago when doing my own darkroom work, but had totally forgotten. Thanks for this post.

    Hi, Pris. Welcome to my blog. Hope you return often.

    I have lots of grandkids and great-grandkids and am thinking of checking out this process, and let them be involved with such a project. Sounds like a blast.


  8. Shirley, your pictures reveal a keen eye for the artistic. You delve into your subject deeply, and you clearly like to “play” with composition. Your picture add a great deal to an already-good blog.

    Thank you, Helen.


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