Electrophotography Workshops with Tom Carpenter
Feb 26, 2018

  • Tom Carpenter holding a teen's work.

    Tom Carpenter works with teens during an Open Studio program. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Closeup of teen's portrait.

    Transferring the image

  • Teen posing for a portrait.

    Holding a pose

  • Group watching a demonstration.

    Developing the magnetic plate negative

  • Upside down portrait.

    Behind the camera

  • Portrait of a boy.

    Adding the final touches

  • Teen looking at a portrait.

    Getting a closer look

This February, artist Tom Carpenter led workshops with Whitney School, Youth, Family, and Community Programs in conjunction with the current exhibition Experiments in Electrostatics: Photocopy Art from the Whitney’s Collection, 1966–1986. In each of his workshops, Carpenter introduced participants to the relatively unknown history of the camera based Xerox flat plate system (or electrophotography). The precursor of our current copy machines, Xerox image-making involves a large format camera, magnetic plates, and carbon based images. Originally developed for office use to make copies of documents, artists and photographers have used this method to alter images throughout the development process.

Workshop participants created original portraits of their family, friends, and classmates. Dyeemah Simmons, Coordinator of Teen Programs, remarked: “This workshop was really interesting because it combined science, photography, and art. The photocopier is a familiar object, but Tom Carpenter helped participants use this tool in completely unfamiliar and magical ways. The workshop was incredibly engaging and interactive. Participants walked away with beautiful, unique portraits.” Check out a slideshow of the workshops above! All photographs by Filip Wolak.

Hakimah Abdul-Fattah, Assistant to School and Educator Programs