£3.50 – £5

Speculative Cameras Workshop

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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Chamberlain Square

Birmingham

B3 3DH

United Kingdom

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A mix of computation and cardboard, from the camera obscura to artificial intelligence, join artist Pete Ashton to hack cameras and rethink photography.

Did you ever wonder why all cameras looks roughly the same? This 4 hour workshop (12-4pm?) will use the history of photography and cutting edge developments in image processing to challenge our assumptions of what a camera could be. You’ll never think of your optical data-capture device in the same way again!

Through light-hearted talks and hands-on practicals, we will cover the following topics:

How the Camera Obscura flattened the world and helped invent photography.
- Build your own from a cardboard box and a magnifying glass – a great way to understand how your camera actually works.

Junk lenses – bringing DIY back to photography again.
- Invent new optics from mirrors, broken lenses and plastic food containers (yes, really).

From map-making to 3D scanning – how photogrammetry builds virtual objects from ordinary photographs.
- Scan objects in the museum and turn them into 3D models using simple software.

Artificial Intelligence in photography. How are cameras learning to see? Can we use this in our image-making?
- Sort a thousands of photos using the t-SNE algorithm. Run a neural network on your laptop to identify objects in your photos.

Seeing the invisible. How artists like Richard Mosse use infrared cameras with incredible results.
- Make photos with a heat-sensitive camera.

By the end of the workshop you’ll have a clearer understanding of what cameras are capable of and what the next hundred years of image capture might look like. This will give you a new appreciation of your camera and its potential for making photographs in new and exciting ways.

Rough schedule:

12:00 – Welcome and intro to concept of “camera as machine that changes how we visually understand the world”.
12:15 – Lecture.
13:00 – Workshop making “cameras” in small groups or individually.
14:00 – Regroup to discuss progress.
14:30 – Excursion to capture images with our devices in museum and outside.
15:15 – Processing images and/or improving devices.
15:30 – Show and tell and final discussion.
16:00 – ends.

Pete Ashton is a Birmingham-based artist who has been exploring the edges of photography for over a decade. A co-founder of the Birmingham Camera Obscura project, his current work uses artificial intelligence and machine learning systems to create visual and performance art. His next show, Instructions for Humans, opens at Birmingham Open Media in November 2017. Pete also teaches photography and runs events in Birmingham through his company Photo School and relishes making complex concepts understandable.

No programming or technical knowledge is needed though some optional activities may require installing and running code on your computer.

We will provide enough equipment for you to enjoy and benefit from the workshop, but if you can bring the following, please do:

- A camera or smartphone capable of taking photos and video.

- A laptop with the following installed: Photoscan (apply for a trial license), Darknet (fairly advanced)
- Any strange and weird cameras you might already have.

Do not worry if you can’t do this. All you really need for this workshop is an open mind!


This event is part of Developed in Birmingham, a season of exhibitions, events and activities celebrating early photography in the city which runs from 15 June until 3 September 2017. www.developedinbirmingham.com

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Location

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Chamberlain Square

Birmingham

B3 3DH

United Kingdom

View Map

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