5. Takashi Homma - Before Photography

Before Photography: A Study of Camera Obscura
By Takashi Homma

The phenomenon of Camera Obscura (or dark chamber), when the outside scenery is reflected in a dark room through a small hole, has been known since long before the invention of photography in 1827. It is considered one of the key inventions that led to the possibility of fixing the image as a photograph. 

In modern times, our society seeks to avoid darkness, and we lack the chance to see an image in a dark room by accident. During the workshop, we will experience the phenomenon of camera obscura, and go on to create our own unique pinhole cameras. A photograph that you have created yourself in the darkness is an entirely different experience than an image taken by your digital camera. Going back to the beginnings of thinking about photography and its basic principles will be an opportunity to explore and understand your own creative practice.

Firstly, we will darken an entire room and explore the possibilities of the camera obscura together. Then, each student will make their own pinhole camera/s, by using an empty box or a can. We will also learn how to transform your digital SLR camera into a pinhole with the help of a small hole in the lens cap. Finally, each of the participants will create a series of photographs taken with their self-made or digital pinhole camera. The subjects can be selected to reflect participants’ own interests and practice. There will be daily group gatherings and editing sessions, combined with a review of the work of important authors, including the tutor’s own.

Prior requirements/preparations:  
The students should bring their digital SLR camera and, if they like, container/s (such as a box or an empty can) for handmade pinhole camera.

Takashi Homma is a Japanese photographer and artist, born in 1962. Resided in London from 1991-1992. Upon returning to Japan, he worked in many genres, including editorials and advertising, and producing his series “New Waves”, “Suburban Landscapes”, “Sky Shots”, and “Tokyo Children”. In 1999, he received the prestigious 24th Kimura Ihei Memorial Photography Award for his series “Tokyo Suburbia”. In 2008, his book “Takashi Homma: Tokyo” came out, making him the first Japanese author to be published by Aperture. In 2011 – 2012 his work "New Documentary" was exhibited at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art.

Takashi Homma is an acclaimed teacher of photography in Japan - a guest professor at the graduate school of Tokyo Zokei University, and leading numerous other workshops and classes. He has published two popular books on teaching photography.