Second Sight - Silhouettes - August 1977

Submitted by root on Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:50

Second Sight was based on using photography to get people to look again.  It came in two parts - part 1 was  events around the City and part 2  was photographic games played with young people in 4 different playschemes. 

This is a description of part two - although there are good descriptions of the games, we have very little in the way of photographs.


a series of four photographic games/workshops to create works based on silhouettes of objects, parts of the body, or of the whole body, filled with polaroid photographs of objects/people.

The games involved learning how to use a polaroid camera, and learning something of layout and design work, as well as an additional 'chance' game for three of the four workshops.

Each game/workshop involved twelve kids and was led by between four and six adults (members of Blackie staff and friends).

Each game/workshop was spread over two days, the first session mainly consisting of learning to use the cameras and taking the necessary photographs (i.e. playing the appropriate game), and thesecond session of creating and mounting the completed works.

All of the works were exhibited at MPAC over the summer, as the works were completed, and until the end of September 1977.

The Games

Game 1. 

Proposal : To create a work by completely filling the silhouette of an object with photographs of people.

For example:-   a taxi made of policemen

                       a flower vase made of kids

                       a kettle made of passersby  

                       a telephone made of members of one family

A number of silhouettes of objects were cut out of black sugar paper and allotted to the 12 kids by means of a simple game of chance.

The kids learnt how to use the Polaroid cameras, and then went out into the streets to take minimum of 16 portraits of people (themselves, each other, family, friends, passersby

The photographs were trimmed to fit into the silhouette, and glued into position, and the completed work mounted onto white card.

The game was played at St Cleopus Church Playscheme on 8 and 9 August 1977.

Game 2 

Proposal : To create a work by completely filling the silhouette of a persons head, in profile, with portraits of the same head taken from four different angles. Each portrait to include one of four other objects to be discovered at the end of a chance journey.

A full size silhouette of the profile of each kid playing the game was obtained by a friend drawing around the shadow thrown onto black sugar paper.

Kids and adults were divided into groups, and set off on a chance journey (directions decided on the throw of the dice), each kid carrying a sealed envelope containing four picture cards of a person, a vehicle, a textured surface, and something to eat.

At the end of the journey the envelopes were opened and the kids started to search for their objects, Four photographs were taken of the head and shoulders of each kid with each object (i.e.16 photographs in all of each kid). Each of these four photographs showed the kid's head from a different angle (front/top/left side/right side/back/or from under the chin).

The photographs were trimmed and laid to fit into the silhouette. Completed works were mounted onto white card.

The game was played at Garston Park Playscheme on 15 and 16 August 1977.

Game 3.  

Proposal :    To create a work by completely filling the full length silhouette of the "body with photographs of whatever the artist would like to be 'made' of.

Trees/fast cars/a particular church/one's friends ...

We used a 35mm camera to take full length photograph of each kid (aiming to get an interesting stance. The negative was projected onto black sugar paper through a slide projector to get an image about 18" high, and drawn around for the silhouette.

The kids discussed what they would like to be 'made' of (one girl chose the Metropolitan Cathedral, another her friends), and then went out in groups to learn to use Polaroid cameras, and to collect and photograph their 'insides'.

The photographs were trimmed and glued into position, and the completed work mounted onto white card.

This game was played at Myrtle Street Youth Club Playscheme on 22 and 23 August 77.

Game 4

Proposal : To create a work by putting together the 'cut­ out' polaroid photographs of the arms/legs/ heads/trunks/hands/and feet of those kids playing the game to make a 'chance body'. A simple chance game decided which parts of the body and how many of each part each kid could use to make up the chance body.

After the chance game was played, the appropriate number of photographs of arms, legs, etc were taken and cut out.

The kids discussed and designed their chance bodies, and mounted the cut-out photographs in position on black card. Mounted next to the chance body was a portrait of the kid who had created it.

N.B. Because of a shortage of time on this workshop, few of the kids were able to learn how to use Polaroid cameras.

This game was played at Rice Lane Playscheme on 31 August and 1st September 1977