The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

Katie LaWer shoots her shot at Photography Club

Photography Club began in a bright, airy classroom with a group of members already gathered at the tables in the front of the room. I felt apprehensive at first, not being a regular member, but no one acted as if my presence was unwanted or out of place. The co-presidents, junior Siena Tacy and junior Jaein Chung, quickly began going over the activity planned for the meeting: creating photograms. Even though I had no idea what a photogram was, I followed the rest of the members into the darkroom anyway. I was surprised at both how large the darkroom was as well as the fact that the lights were on—Tacy explained that the lights turned off when people were working with their film.

During the activity, I found out that a photogram is an image created without a camera by placing objects onto photogenic paper and exposing it to light. We began by choosing small objects to display on print, from strings of colorful ribbons to 3D-printed animals. Rummaging through the boxes, I picked out a pink ribbon, a chess piece, two dice and a string of purple beads. I then arranged my objects under the enlarger, a specialized projector used to produce photographic prints. Once everyone was ready, a quick flash lit the dark room. After taking out my photograph-to-be, the last steps were to soak the paper in the developer for one minute and then in water for 15 seconds before leaving it for one minute in a photographic fixer to stabilize the image. After my paper had been thoroughly soaked, I left the dark room and gazed, surprised, at the print. The once-white paper was completely black, with the objects I had chosen visible in bright silhouettes. The print had turned out better than I expected, and I felt a sense of accomplishment at having learned something new. At the end of lunch, I felt regretful that I had not been to earlier meetings in the school year that included other hands-on activities such as using pinhole cameras and making cyanotypes; even though I came as a spy, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Photography Club meeting.

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