This is the last week to see Shadows of a Fleeting World: Pictorial Photography and the Seattle Camera Club an exhibition of over 200 images created by members of the Seattle Camera Club. The Seattle Camera Club was founded in 1924 by Japanese immigrants to the Pacific Northwest. They produced work that was published widely and exhibited in national and international competitions.
Over the course of the show, a number of tours were given to public groups, faculty and students. A group of photography students from Nathan Hale High School toured the show this last week. During their tour they were asked to make lists of the first ten words that come into their head when viewing the images. A selection of their choice of descriptive words include the following list:
haunted/ bright / ink painting/ lonely/ lighting and shadows/ still/ earthy/ misty/ nature/ cityscape/ scenic/ fog/ dream/ cinematic/ experimental/ heavenly/ gritty/ light play/ traditional/ companion/ still / the northwest/ old/ skies / 1920s/ painting-like/ unconventional/ working class/ architectural/ center of interest
The students also commented during their tour that the individual images in the exhibition were both interesting and compositionally strong enough to stand on their own. They left saying they felt inspired!
Many of the tour groups were particularly intrigued by the technical aspects behind pictorial photography. Some of the most popular questions to come up during a tour were some variation of: “how did they make that?” This could reference the texture, soft focus, blurring or double exposure of an image.
Though we don’t know the specific processes used by the artists in the Camera Club, Pictorial photographers in general would use a number of methods to alter their photographs such as scratching their negatives, using a variety of filters in the darkroom, placing petroleum jelly on the lens of their camera and dying their images in tea. You can go here to learn more about different experimental photography techniques to try!
On April 23rd we tested some of these methods during Cherry BLOSSOM, a springtime celebration of the Seattle Camera Club! For this event, Youth in Focus led two workshops that explored techniques in pictorial photography. With the use of disposable cameras and creativity they created images inspired by the work of The Seattle Camera Club, many of which are on view in Molly’s cafe at the Henry!
Posted by: Sarah Jenks, UW Exhibition Guide