PCPA + Babinda State School (Aug-Oct 2021)

"This workshop has been a great self-esteem boost for the students and gives them a taste of how art can involve the wider community. I would highly recommend any school to be involved with PCPA and look forward to seeing more creative student work from around Queensland, as well as from around Australia and the Pacific!"

- Karina Talbott, Babinda State School Visual Arts Teacher.


The 2021 Babinda School Workshop has wrapped up with a super exhibition/presentation of the students' work in the school library. Ms Karina Talbott did  a wonderful of presenting the famed works, which the students did themselves in the first week back after holidays. The final water colour painted works are presented with the black and white photographs above them so visitors can see what the original photograph looked like compared to the final artworks. After the works have been exhibited in the school library, they will be shown in the end of year school presentation and hopefully we can get them displayed in Babinda town centre or perhaps even Cairns.

"Thank you for encouraging us to explore our town in a different way."

- Babinda State School student

We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Year 9 and 10 students and with their wonderful art teacher Karina! We would like to thank all the students and staff at Babinda State School who made us feel really welcome. 

We were impressed with the level of engagement from the students to the project, and even more impressed by the respect the students showed one another and us also. We would love to come back and do it all again! 

For now please enjoy these photographs from the presentation in the school library. 

Thank you Babinda State School!

"Thank you for the wonderful opportunity  you gave us to learn more about photography."

- Beth (Babinda State School student)

WEEK FIVE (16/9/21)

It was now time for the students to start painting on the photographs with watercolour paint. An exciting week for the students and for us!

Reduced class numbers this week due to Year 9 camp gave Year 10 students plenty of elbow room to get started on their watercolour paintings. At the end of this week's workshop we had about 20 finished painted images that are ready for framing.

When Term 4 starts in a few weeks, it will be the Year 9 students' turn to get out the paint brushes and have a go!

Students took differing approaches to the task of watercolour painting, with some showing more restraint and allowing the original black and white image to prevail, while others used the printed image as a base on which to draw over. Once they are all framed, we think the diversity in approaches will benefit the exhibition and promote the unique stylistic approaches from the students.

We are looking forward to returning to Babinda after the school holidays!

WEEK FOUR (9/9/21)

After two consecutive weeks of photographing in and around Babinda, this week's class meant it was time for students to take stock of their images and look at which photographs would be selected for watercolour painting.

This workshop is being delivered as we ourselves undertake our long term projects. And one of the most important stages is making work prints of digital images so they can be laid out in physical form, grouped into themes and looked at objectively. 

As students worked in pairs or groups of three to make pictures with digital cameras, it was hard to keep a track of who individually made each picture. Students therefore were asked to group images into themes that became apparent and were identified by students in a group session.

Themes included: Homes, shops, town, interiors, agriculture, street scenes, people, as well as the more personal themes of intrigue and mystery Working in a group on this collaborative project, the students organised photos and made selections for images that they would like to paint and include in the final exhibition.

We needed to select 26 for the final exhibition from a total selection of over 200 images. That isn't far off 1 out of 10, meaning that 90% of the images would be discarded and not make the cut (but not thrown away!). This is where the selection and editing of pictures become important in shaping the look and feel of the final exhibiton.

Editing and sequencing is a really engaging and though provoking stage of photographic practice. The excitement of making pictures is behind the students, and they are now asked to objectively look at the pictures within a classroom/studio context. This often makes students look at images of places and things which they are familiar with in a new light, one that allows them to look at the images as 'photographs' for the first time. 

By selecting photographs from all of the digital images made, students can start to build their own narrative, making sure that they aren't doubling up certain images, or certain types of images.  A lot of discussion took place which was great to see.

At the end of our fourth workshop class the students had chosen around forty images, which we would print on A4 watercolour paper. Still more than was needed for the exhibition, it was a good idea to still allow ourselves some room for a final selection to be made when we could all see the prints in a larger size. 

So for next week (Week 5) it was time to make some larger prints and get ready to do some watercolour painting!

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WEEK THREE (2/9/21)

After a 24 hour period of torrential rain only a day before our third workshop at Babinda State School, we were lucky (and thankful) to have a sunny, blue sky for our second and final photography field trip into Babinda to make photographs with year 9 and 10 visual art students. 

At the start of the lesson we spent about 30 minutes going over the selected images from the previous week and discussing the attributes of many of the images while also giving constructive advice on others and how they could be reconsidered on the next outing.

It was great to have the contrast in weather from the previous week when it was humid and overcast. The change in weather enabled the students to see similar buildings and landmarks in a new light, with bright sunshine accompanying most of our time in town. 

We noticed that on this walking trip, students were more considered in their approach and the images that were presented to the class after we returned to the classroom showed the improvement in their results. Like anything, the more time you give to something , whether it be photography or anything else, the more improvements are likely to be seen.

Now were will print out small work prints of over 200 images that the students made of the two field trips and we start the task of selecting and sequencing the chosen images which will then be enlarged and printed on watercolour paper for the students to paint.

Below is a selection of 20 images from the second field trip though Babinda. 

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WEEK TWO  (26/8/21)

PCPA was delighted to finally be able to meet the year 9/10 visual arts students at Babinda State High School over the past two weeks. Students were introduced to our Canon G12 cameras and after a short period of time in the classroom talking about photography, it was time to hit the streets of Babinda town with Ms Talbott and make some photographs.

The first Thursday was unseasonably humid for late August and we all felt the heaviness of the air as we walked into town and explored the main street. It's such a great sight to see over twenty high school students exploring Babinda with cameras in hand, working in small groups to collectively make a portrait of their own backyard. 

At the end of the first field trip, students were asked to review their images in class and present to the class an image or two that they had made and that they were particularly happy with. Before we knew it, we had run out of time and the 3 o'clock school bell rang to announce the end of the school day.

One thing that stood out about the students we are working with was how respectful they were, to us, the cameras and to each other. While it was evident that the students had a great time walking into town and being out of school grounds, they also respected the project and their task of making pictures and starting to look at their town through the cameras' viewfinders.

From the 14 cameras that went out with the students in the first week, we made an initial selection of around 120 photographs that had the potential to be used in the final series of images. They were definitely off to a good start. 

Below are twenty photographs made on the first field trip, converted to black and white, as this is how the images will be selected for painting. Some of them look so good as they are, they could be displayed just like this.