As yesterday was a holiday for Baltimore City public schools, we took advantage of the free time and perfect weather to take a group of students on a photo safari. Seanté Hatcher is the Youth & Community Liaison for the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I work with her and the students in the Youth Advisory Committee, otherwise known as the YAC, on a project called Photovoice.
We work with the students to teach them how to express themselves and think critically. Our
theme this year is the anti-gang experience, and the students have been tasked to come up with pictures that show an alternative to that lifestyle. Students have to think about what they want to say with their photography, make a photo, then write a caption explaining their thoughts about
We walked down Broadway from the school campus to Fells Point, and the students made pictures along the way. Our emphasis was on composition and moments, and this expedition was a great opportunity to get out of a visual rut that a lot of the students had fallen into.
It also gave us a chance to work directly with the students. In addition to Seanté we had help from Colby Ware, a brilliant photographer and associate member of Iris, and two design students from MICA, Jonathan and Alex Pines.
The students had a good time, and I was glad to see them taking things in a little differently. I really wanted to see them get away from all the posed photos that had been coming in, and move toward moments and uncontrived shots. We were able to take some big steps in that direction.
All the students will continue to shoot on their own, and in the coming weeks we'll be wrapping up the shooting phase and moving toward the editing and captioning of the final project. The students will show their work as they did last year, and more than likely make another calendar. There are also some other ideas in the works, but I'll make sure to keep everyone updated as we move along.
btw, here is a link to the Baltimore Sun's coverage of last year's Photovoice project.