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Photography on a Shoestring

1-Day Class
Saturday, September 21, 2024: 9am–5pm

Looking Inside a Shoebox Camera

After it’s invention in 1839, photography became known as a democratic art. Through the new art form of photography, art became available to the middle and lower classes of society. Access to certain photographic materials such as large format cameras and processing supplies, however, continue to come with a high price tag.

In this workshop, we will explore film photography on a shoestring budget. Participants will learn how to build a large format camera out of household materials and how to process film using kitchen ingredients. We will also discuss options for printing negatives that do not require a formal photo lab. At the conclusion of this workshop, students will come away with a handmade camera and an understanding of how to process and print analog photographs on a budget.

Shoebox Camera Image

Students must supply a shoe box with detachable lid or other similarly shaped cardboard box for this workshop. All other materials are included.

Non-member: $325.00
PhotoSynthesis Classic Member: $292.50
Burnside Darkroom Collective Member: $276.25
Course Enrollment: 6–8
Instructor: Jessica Somers (

Jessica Somers is a photographer specializing in historic photographic techniques and self-portraiture.

Jessica has been in love with photography for most of her life. She was exposed to the act of picture making through her grandfather, an avid amateur photographer, and in the family bathroom-turned-darkroom after sunset. Here, she witnessed actual magic standing over the chemical trays watching an image appear where only a simple white sheet of paper was before. As a kid she received a Kodak disc camera and fell in love with the act of expressing her individual view of the world from the 4 foot high perspective of a seven year old. Her height has since increased but her love affair with photography continues.

Jessica’s work has been exhibited nationally and has been published in various periodicals. Her research on alternative processes and select photographs are published in the 3rd edition of The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes by Christopher James. Jessica is a 2022 Denis Roussel Award, Work of Merit recipient. She currently teaches photography at colleges and universities throughout Connecticut.

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