This ongoing project captures light and teaches a basic understanding of how we experience light.

After looking at Judd’s 100 works in mill aluminum, students are asked to think about the concepts of permanence and documentation, and consider different aspects of light. Students then construct their own pinhole cameras from tape and cardboard. This authentic, hands-on process allows the young artists to understand how light enters a camera or an eye.


With their new cameras in hand, students next visit the Art Lab’s darkroom, where they load their cameras and learn the developing process. Next, the photographers roam Chinati’s grounds, documenting light. They become acutely aware of the physics of light with each new light recording. Exposure times differ in every workshop, depending on the time of day and ever-changing weather conditions. The range of variables in taking pinhole photographs encourages critical thinking, requires problem solving and prompts teamwork among the young artists.

Participants in this program gain an understanding of light through exposure manipulation and they learn darkroom techniques such as making contact prints, developing light recording prints, and creating negative reversals using an enlarger. Students are led in discussions about permanence, presence, and documentation, along with peer critiques that touch on technique, content and intent.

Additional days can provide students with the opportunity to make photograms and reversals. This program can be modified for grades 1 – 3.


Chinati’s educational and public programming is supported with generous grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Brown Foundation, the Cowles Charitable Trust, the Horace W Goldsmith Foundation, the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, the Permian Basin Area Foundation, the Rosenthal Family Foundation, the Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust, the Susan Vaughan Foundation, and the City of Marfa.