Visitors are being invited to see Sunderland through a pinhole as part of a quirky art exhibition.
More than 150 people across the city took part in workshops to build their own cameras out of recyclable items, from bean cans to teabag boxes, which they then used to capture unusual snapshots of Wearside.
The result is the Look and Inspire exhibition, which will open at the Museum and Winter Gardens next month.
Leading the project was freelance artist and photographer Jo Howell, in conjunction with the Art Studio Sunderland, who delivered workshops with a variety of community organisations including Mind, Back on the Map and Sunderland Library Services as well as a workshop at the pop up Caravan Gallery during its time in Fawcett Street.
“We took them through a full day,” she explained. “In the morning we built cameras with recycled materials, such as tins and old boxes. Then in the afternoon we would go out and take the photographs, which I collated and edited.
“I think many people will be surprised at how easy it is to make a camera. The ones we made are similar to the first type of cameras, like box brownies. “They take the picture upside down and back to front. People are used to digital cameras, but these all take unique, completely different photographs. We built a dark room and developed the photos using traditional methods, so everyone could see the process. It’s exciting because you never quite know how a photo will turn out, unlike modern day photography which you can see on a screen.”
She added: “The participants threw themselves into the project wholeheartedly and have produced an exhibition of extreme quality. It gives us a dynamic new way of looking at and appreciating where we live.”
Landmarks featured in the exhibition include Wearmouth Bridge, the Winter Gardens, Old Donnison School and Holy Trinity Church in the East End.
David Lawson from Hendon, who participated in the project to create his own images, said: “I’ve never made a camera before and waiting for the end result in the darkroom was an exciting process. It creates really unusual images and I’m really proud of the end result.”
The Art Studio Sunderland is an arts and mental health charity, which relocated to Lombard Street in Hendon from its former base in the city centre which has been part of the Premier Inn development. Established in 1986, it encourages its members to explore the therapeutic nature of creative arts.
We built a dark room and developed the photos using traditional methods, so everyone could see the process. It’s exciting because you never quite know how a photo will turn out, unlike modern day photographyArtist, Jo Howell
l Look and Inspire will be at the Open Gallery, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, from November 7 to January 24.