In August second year photography students at Michaelis planted a Spekboom garden and helped begin the journey towards setting up a sustainable darkroom.
The spekboom were grown by Svea Josephy and were planted by second years and their teachers, Dominique Edwards and Vanessa Cowling and MA student Emme Pretorius. The spekboom was intended to offset the carbon footprint that the second years would produce during the photography project. In the interests of sustainability, the photo students then planted new spekboom from cuttings, for next years’ second years.
The sustainable darkroom project is an initiative that was enabled by funding from Fritha Langerman from the Campus Sustainability Project, and arranged by Svea Josephy and Vanessa Cowling, assisted by Sitaara Stodel and Fortune Ngwenya.
The project, which included 2nd, 3rd year and Masters’ students, involved planting a garden in the Rosedale parking lot. Students tilled the soil, put down pine discs (donated by Vanessa), started a compost heap, planted spinach, beetroot, colourful flowers and a Mulberry and Blueberry bush. Afterwards students laid down wood chip to keep the soil moist and watered the new plants and seeds.
The plants will be used to make anthotypes, sustainable photographic prints made from plant pigments. We will also be using the plants to experiment with making sustainable darkroom chemicals and to do research into sustainable darkroom practices.
We will water the garden with recycled water from the darkroom and from collected rainwater from a water tank, kindly donated by Fritha Langerman.