Photographer’s Playdate

Featuring Editors Jason Fulford, Gregory Halpern, and Denise Wolff

Saturday, January 24, 2015 • 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15

Included with museum admission.

In January 2015, we celebrated the Aperture Foundation’s publication of The Photographer’s Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas with a museum-wide event of photography-related activities and experiments. Photographer’s Playdate features do-it-yourself assignments, field trips around the neighborhood, and a spirited final gathering in our Kanbar Forum.

We invited beginners, students, teachers, hobbyists, Instagrammers, and others to see the world anew through a series of provocative photography-based explorations. And we transformed the museum into a photographic laboratory, inspiring fresh ways of engaging with the medium and each other.

The Photographer’s Playbook contributors were on-hand to motivate, critique, and instruct. Whether creating cyanotypes, spelling out the alphabet in images, debating the merits of a particular photograph, or discovering the nuances of a common bench, there was something for everyone to investigate. And with opportunities to display work during the day, a live feed of the day’s activities on social media, and the chance to get your copy of the book signed by the book’s editors, there were plenty of reasons to get involved.

A collaboration with Aperture Foundation, this event is part of a two-year project called Begin Here: Assignments, Instructions, Prompts, and Cues from the Artist’s Classroom organized by the Exploratorium’s Center for Art & Inquiry to explore the vital role of art in interdisciplinary learning. 


The Assignment Room
With Caroline Alba, Gregory Halpern, Jason Fulford, Denise Wolff, and the Explainers

Visitors received an assignment, compared notes, connected with others, shared their work, and met the book’s editors.

In the Street
By Helen Levitt, James Agee, and Janice Loeb
1952, 16 min., 16mm

Helen Levitt's famed street photography came to life in this classic short film, which presented an affecting glimpse of mid-century life in Harlem.

Devil’s Advocate: A Photographic Debate
With Playbook editors Jason Fulford, Gregory Halpern, and Denise Wolff; photographers Chris McCaw and Lindsey White; curator Erin O’Toole; and SFAI photography student Madison Voelkel. Moderated by Fraenkel Gallery Director Frish Brandt

Inspired by Sam de Groot's Playbook assignment of the same name, Devil’s Advocate invited a group of participants from various walks of photographic life to critically respond to images in a public setting.