Aspiring art teacher takes on 7th grade science project

Katharine Leighton (right), an art education major at UMSL, shows photographs in their final wash to Pablo Haddock and his mother Coral Haddock. Pablo, a seventh grade student at St. Gerard Majella Catholic School, reached out to the university for help in taking and developing photos with a camera he built.

Pablo Haddock, 13, wanted to learn how a pinhole camera works. Pablo, a seventh grader at St. Gerard Majella Catholic School in Kirkwood, Mo., looked to the University of Missouri–St. Louis and its Department of Art and Art History for help with his class science project.

“I wanted to learn how a lensless camera would work,” said Pablo. “And the camera was something I could make myself.”

The tricky part, in today’s digital age, is shooting and developing a photograph the old fashioned way. Enter Katherine Leighton, a UMSL junior majoring in art education with photography emphasis. She was happy to work with Pablo on his project .

“I want to help people become creators of what they feel and see,” Leighton said. “I’m interested in secondary education and beyond, but I also love to teach any child interested in art.”

Science and art came together last week in one of the university’s darkrooms in the Fine Arts Building. Thanks to Leighton, Pablo got a lesson in the dying art of darkroom photography.

Pablo had made his own pinhole camera using an oatmeal box and some household tools. He sat patiently for the long exposure time for his photograph. He then used chemicals and light sensitive photographic paper to develop his photos.

“I learned that the longer exposure to light the better the image comes out,” said Pablo. “I also learned that outdoor light is better than indoor light to get an image with the pinhole camera.”

He was filled with questions about the darkroom chemicals and how they transformed the paper into his photo.

“It’s a great experiment,” Pablo said. “You can really see how technology has changed over the years.”

The aspiring art teacher was just as enthusiastic.

“This experience has reinforced my love for teaching photography,” Leighton said. “I can’t wait to share my knowledge and love of photography with others.”


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