Sirkhane Darkroom Posted On 4th August 2020 To Magazine & Stories
An empowering project
Sirkhane Darkroom is a mobile analog photography workshop for refugee, local and vulnerable children on the Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi border in Mardin City.
It’s an empowering project that brings together children from different backgrounds through photography. It’s also a project that shows the world photos taken by non-adult photographers, photographs from the eyes of children.
The Sirkhane Darkroom program consists of several workshops. In the first workshop I show the children what analog photography is along with different types of analog cameras from Pinhole and Instax to Lomo and Agfa cameras. I explain the difference between analog photography and digital photography and which films we would mainly be using.
In the second and third workshops I showed them how to compose their shots and how to take great photos from any type of camera. I explained to them that the photographs they take can show emotion and that you can express your imagination via photography!
In the forth workshop we go outside taking photos without films, just practising.
After that, each participant selects what they want to document. For example, the daily life of being children, their mother's life and so on.
I then give them a camera and tell them before you take a photo, remember to think and feel it, and remember you have 36 shots.
Now to develop the film
They take the cameras home for 1-2 weeks and after that they come back to the workshop and we show them how to develop them. This includes loading the film into a developing tank, mixing the chemicals and so on.
I then show them all the developing processes and we develop the films together. They get very excited to see the results. We also scan the photo's together and make prints inside the darkroom. After learning the darkroom process they start doing it by themselves.
The course moves to learn about pinhole and photograms.
Now, because of COVID-19, we started our Sirkhane Darkroom online workshops via WhatsApp and messenger rooms because it’s the easiest way to reach children. We conduct the workshops via video calls and send them cameras to use.
Online workshops are difficult but very useful to bring hope to the children.
My up coming plans and goals are to create a Sirkhane Caravan by the end of July 2020. With a Darkroom inside the caravan we will go to the villages and hold workshops with the children.
Meanwhile, I have two other programs running. One in Istasyon district and also a container workshop. The container is also a darkroom so every 3 months I go to a new place with it.
The idea of mobile workshops with both a Caravan and Container is to reach all children in need because children are changing the world.
We are always in need of darkroom equipment and materials.
People can support us via our darkroom campaign https://www.mightycause.com/story/Darkroom or can donate their secondhand or unused photography equipment and materials.
We always want different people to come and volunteer to share their knowledge and stories about photography to children! Please get in touch if you are interested.
All of the children's images are shot on Kentmere or ILFORD Pan films.
About The Author
Serbest Salih, Director of Sirkhane Darkroom
Sirkhane is a Social Circus and Art School for children.
The Sirkhane Darkroom program is a mobile photography workshop for vulnerable and underprivileged children residing in the South East of Turkey, a few kilometers away from the Syrian border. The Darkroom program is directed by Syrian artist Serbest Salih, himself a refugee, who finds love in teaching the art of photography to children in deprived areas. The project equips children with inexpensive, pinhole and simple analogue cameras, teaches them the basics of composition and visual arts and how to develop, print and achieve results out of their own art. The children are encouraged to take photos of their own surroundings, and capture the innocence and the beauty inside their own lives. Serbest also teaches them how to develop their photos, print them and makes exhibitions of their art; a full cycle of artistic experience.
Website : www.sirkhane.org/darkroom
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