Tracce - Children workshop

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Try to imagine what would you be writing today if nobody thought you grammar, history, or literature. And what would happen if a whole new generation grew up thinking that grammar, history, or literature did not exist at all? 

Today technology knows it almost all for us. We still learn grammar to write a sentence, but we do not need to learn photography to take a photograph. 

It is paradoxical that in an image-based society, image-practice and image-theory are not taught to children. Every young person is at risk of becoming a mere means of feedback to the media and technology companies.

Selected works

Today, children from a really early age, consume, create, and communicate with images. 

Technology has transformed the practice of photography radically, shortening time, and reducing space, as image capturing and sharing has become instantaneous. 
This can be both a wonderful opportunity and potential harm, children are the most exposed to it.

We can share pictures from one side to the other of the globe, we can edit almost every detail of a photograph, we can have a conversation without writing a word. At the same time, nothing is to be trusted, and creativity is unable to flourish because none is required to take any decision, as the machine will do it for you. 
Is not to be surprised then, if a kid today has no clue that he/she needs a camera to take a picture. In this scenario, a photograph is a magical entity where the tool is carefully hidden by the manufactures. 

The purpose of this workshop is to reveal the photographic tool to the children, in the hope, to bring back the medium between creating and creation. 

The use of analog photography as a means to teach is not nostalgic or aesthetic. With my great surprise, the children take about 5-10 minutes to understand that the object in front of them is a camera. 


From this revelation onwards their curiosity runs fast: if that is a camera, where are the pictures?
This second question raises another level of understanding, a picture needs a further tool to be taken: film.

Re-established photography as an act of writing, in other words, a picture has to be written with a camera and  celluloid is needed to write on.

But what do we write pictures with? 


This last question is the core of the workshop. The answer, which the children find on their own, is light. Mystery revealed.

Photography explained in three passages: camera, film, light. 

During the practice, the children are exposed to the understating of the limits imposed by the cameras, as well as facing the possibility of making unfixable mistakes.

Mistake and Limit are two lost virtues in the digital technologies, although where there is no limit there is no craft and without mistakes, there is no progress. 

There is no theory in the workshop, everything is practical, each kid has one analog camera loaded with film, he/she plays and take pictures freely.
After, Gianmarco uses the “positive development” technique to develop the negatives. In this process the negative turns into a positive, therefore the pictures appear directly on the celluloid. 


In the end, the kids view and touch their works, this is when the magic happens, light has become an image. 

©gianmarcodonaggio