Betty Hahn. Soft Daguerreotype, 1973. From the series “Daguerreotype Messages To The Past”, 1973. Electrostatic print on synthetic silver fabric in velvet and satin case. © Betty Hahn

I completely forgot to take a picture of the ridiculous setup I had going on for yesterday’s class — laptop on a counter, iPhone on a tripod, chemistry on the table, etc… I was trying to show everyone around the lab they’d be working in, and ended up carrying my laptop around the room, and moving the tripod all over the place. It got more absurd once our quick Cyanotype demo started, but somehow it all seemed to work.

I know I’m not alone in my mild revulsion for Zoom at this point, but I’ve learned one important thing, at least: Take a damn break. No one, I mean no one, wants to stare at the screen for four hours straight. I think 30-40 minutes is about the human limit before one feels a little crazy. We crammed all our introductory information into 3 40-minute sections, with breaks in between: “Syllabus and Bullshit”; “Get Up On Yr First Cyanotype Demo”; and “A Quick & Completely Subjective Look at Photo History.” It’s as sane as a remote studio class gets, maybe.

I missed a lot of things doing this first class remotely, especially meeting everyone in person and getting a real sense of who they are (and, I hope, giving them a sense of who I am.) What’s more, one of the best things about working with so-called Alternative Processes is getting to print with sunlight. It’s a great first-class experience, loading up a print frame with your first Cyanotype, and walking out of the lab into bright late-summer sunshine… Every art class should have a required Lawn-Sitting module. Oh well.