Cameras Inside Out

When form meets function: an interdisciplinary course that combines industrial design, physics, philosophy and visual arts has Upper Schoolers learning by doing and by teaching.

[from The Calhoun Chronicle, Winter 2012]

It's not uncommon for students to tote cameras around school—whether 35mm digitals or smartphone cameras—particularly in light of the Upper School's numerous photography electives and well-used darkroom. But this fall, the cameras popping up around the Upper School seemed a little… different. Some of them appeared oversized; others looked like they came straight out of Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory. Students were spotted taking pictures from lenses that sprouted out of vintage books, oatmeal containers, a fabricated baseball bat and even a football. What was going on?

The unusual devices were the product of Auguste Elder's (aka Gary Joseph Cohen) popular class “Cameras Inside Out," an interdisciplinary photography course that combines industrial design, science and philosophy. Students had the opportunity to deconstruct old cameras, and then design build and operate their own functioning cameras from readily available, repurposed and/or readymade materials and objects. “The recycling component also perfectly connected to this year's yearly theme, Too Much Stuff," observes Auguste, who led the students through the step-by step process in building the recycled cameras from drafts of preliminary sketches and diagrammatical drawings to construction and the final test—using the cameras out into the field. Students followed up by writing their own instruction booklets on how the cameras operate.

Main Building 3rd - 12th Grades 433 West End Avenue New York, NY 10024 212.497.6500

Robert L. Beir Lower School Building 2.8 Years - 2nd Grade 160 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 212.497.6550

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