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Drawn by the Sun: Photogenic Drawings with Professor Joel Snyder

A photogenic drawing shows a small bunch of flowers against a dark background

Join us for an interactive cameraless photography workshop with Professor Emeritus Joel Snyder.

This workshop will introduce participants to the “photogenic drawing” process of the early photographer and innovator William Henry Fox Talbot. Forming the basis of later nineteenth-century photographic processes, Talbot’s method involved placing objects such as botanical specimens on sensitized paper, which, when exposed to sunlight, darkened to leave a negative impression of the object. Participants will learn about the chemistry, materiality, and environmental factors behind the production of photographic images and have the opportunity to experiment by creating their own pictures “drawn by the sun.” 

FREE, but advanced registration is required as space is limited. Two sessions of the workshop will be offered on Friday, May 20, 2022, the first from 10:30 am–12 pm and second from 1 pm–2:30 pm. 


Please note that this workshop will involve working with chemicals that may leave dark stains. Gloves will be provided, but participants are advised to dress accordingly. Participants are also invited to bring objects to be used in the creation of their photogenic drawings. Two dimensional objects such as leaves, flowers, feathers, fabrics like lace, stencils, twine, netting and screens, photographic negatives, and even some pen and ink drawings work well, but we encourage you to use your imagination!  


This workshop is organized by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry at the Smart Museum of Art and is inspired by the curricular exhibition Unsettled Ground: Art and Environment from the Smart Museum Collection.  

Image: Joel Snyder, Campanula Americana, Photogenic drawing, Housatonic, MA, Late summer, 1979.