America Life Photography

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.