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Enthusing Young Minds


The Project...

Phase 1

Taking the photographs,

learning to develop the negatives, learn and develop skills in photography, chemistry, math, literacy, patience, resilience, self awareness and being able to focus.

Phase 2

Using the photos taken in PHASE 1 to create Anthotypes. Developing an awareness of alternative processes to be more sustainable, eco friendly and cost effective. Additional skills learnt are, biology of plants and some basics of botany while further developing skills like patience and resilience.

Phase 3

The young artists now switch places with the teacher. The teacher becomes the student and the students become the teachers. Presenting their own initiated research, the young artists submit a brief for the project director to complete. They can then respond to the fulfilled brief with images of their own, forming a photo conversation.

Phase 4

Phase 4 saw the big "finale" of the project; the part we'd all been waiting for! The Caravan Darkroom came to fruition with the conversion of an old caravan into a mobile darkroom. The young artists were invited to once again take photos on vintage box brownies, develop their films using Caffenol, and finally print their photos in The Caravan Darkroom.

Enthusing Young Minds is a project aimed at Young Aspiring Artists, giving them the opportunity to experience photography in a way that they never have before; through the use of vintage cameras. The young participants, aged between 5 and 17, were each loaned vintage box cameras which they learnt to load with film.

As the participants completed the below briefs, they learn how to develop their own negatives, providing them with a unique experience that they will likely remember for many years to come. The awe and excitement that each of the participants showed when they saw the images on the negatives for the first time took me back to my first experience. It was from this point that I knew that this project was important and needed to be continued.

There are many skills and lessons that are being developed in the background of the project without the participants really seeing what they're getting out of this participatory project. Firstly, they're learning photographic skills using analogue methods. These are a good foundation as these are skills that can be adapted to digital photography should they choose that path in the future. They learn more about their subjects and become more self aware in the process. They also learn some aspects of history, literacy (visual), chemistry and math (photographic chemicals, how they work with each other and the process required for developing their negatives and the ratios of chemicals to water). 

Further to the skills already mentioned, the participants also start to develop life skills that are important but are being lost in today's instant gratification society; patience and resilience.

Unlike with the use of digital cameras or mobile phones, they're unable to view their images immediately. They have to be patient and wait until the full roll of film is exposed and there is time to develop them. The participants then also have to wait while the developing process is taking place as different films require different times within the developing tank and yet have to wait further for the negatives to dry.

The images on the 75+ year old cameras may not always turn out as well as they'd hope due to the primitive technology, unintentional camera movement (slower shutter speeds) and available light/film sensitivity (ISO/ASA). Yes some of the images on each film have been less than perfect but the resilience of the participants kicked in and they were excited to try again and improve on their next turn.

The Enthusing Young Minds project is informed by the works of Wendy Ewald and The Sirkhane Darkroom, both who have/ are running photographic projects giving young people the opportunities to experience the art as well as express themselves.


Aircraft by J.Doyle, aged 9.

Free Reign

BP, Saltend by I.Riley, aged 11.

Free Reign

Izzy.Riley.Age 11.jpg
DEMI.Welham.Age 15.jpg

Describe yourself, by D.Welham, aged 16.

See Me

If I could be anyone, by M.Doyle, aged 17

See Me


The Gnome by B.Battle, aged 12.

Remember When

The Girl on the Swing by K.Handley, aged 15.

Remember When


Leaf imprint into beetroot coated paper by facilitator Chris G Smith when testing Anthotypes.


Two Icons printed into bramble and buddleia coated paper by Megan Doyle aged 17 - Anthotypes


Favourite Memory printed into Beetroot coated paper by Tom Keogh aged 14 - Anthotypes

Hull City Hall printed into Paprika coated paper by Cardlin Huntley aged 16 - Anthotypes


Travelling the World by Benjamin Roberts aged 10 - The Caravan Darkroom


Humber Bridge by Millie aged 15 - The Caravan Darkroom


Fairies in the Garden by Faith Dixon aged 8 - The Caravan Darkroom

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