A window to the soul.
Sure our after school students are learning to shoot great photographs. They understand depth of field, composition, the rule of thirds. They have grown to appreciate the value of a purposely blurred image (it shows motion). They understand that there is no such thing as a "bad" photograph as long as that was your intention. They understand that the world is their own to interpret and the camera is their vehicle to show us what they see. In short, the camera has empowered the after school kids.
This year alone, they created a compilation of pictures and thought to define who they are as a generation.
They worked for weeks in creating personal time capsules that they will open when they turn 35. In it they wrote letters to their adult selves reminding them what they had dreamed of doing, of what places they had hoped to go by then, of a lifestyle they hoped to have. The purpose of these letters? To remind, refuel and possibly redirect in case they got off course. In their capsules they placed photo albums, journals, notes between friends, simple pieces of personal history like movie stubs, wrappers, cd jackets, receipts-- anything to define who they were at this particular time in their lives. The most telling was a video produced, directed and edited by the class. Students interviewed each other and asked poignant questions about who they were and what they hoped to become. They then added music and made copies for each capsule.
We also dove into the concept of masking. The kids were asked to list their honest mood that day. Honest mood. Some were tired, some were worried about a test, some hungry.
Then we talked about how we don't always show our moods to the world-- putting on a "fake face" or a mask to cover our feelings. From there they made T-shirts with their true feelings stenciled on the front. They took pictures of each other's fake faces and held them out in front of their faces. The end result was the You So Fake!! exhibit. The project was awesome to view, but more important, was its message. "Be careful of what you say to someone-- how you treat them-- because you never know what's going on inside.
Photography at Positive Steps has opened the eyes and hearts of the students.
They dove into each project with opened minds. Their critiques of each other's work was always kind, optimistic and non judgmental. Photography it seems, allowed them to see firsthand, that we are all different and see things in our own way. That some of us are (camera) shy and some of us are hams. By year's end we were taking our gear out on location (field trip) where the class took quaint images of Brookfield Center. One commented that she had been there every day of her life-- but had never realized how special it was. Back at school they edited those images in Photoshop and will be creating an on line gallery/blog this coming school year.
We look forward to continued growth in photography this year. Classes are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:00.