Thursday, January 20, 2011

Light, subject, composition--SHOOT!

You know the classic game "rock, paper, scissors--SHOOT", right? Well I'm titling this blog post (which is about photography): "light, subject, composition--SHOOT!" Ok it doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but it's 1:30am so my sleepy self thinks it's quite clever.

Hopefully you caught the "shoot" pun!

A photo always contains a subject, composition, and light (the word photography comes from two Greek words, which translated means "drawing with light"--just incase you were wondering!)

My goal of the photography class: to equip the 10 Ugandan teens with techniques/concepts which will help them take better photos. I didn't want to bog them down with lots of technical information regarding ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc ("Bueller....? Bueller....?") so instead I took a practical, artistic approach and decided to focus on the creative aspects. I hope I stretched their brains and got them to think outside the box so that next time they take a photo, they really give it thought.


A friend of mine is doing a photo advocacy project with these teenagers (who are actually part of the Dwelling Places program); the teens are photographing their world and telling their stories in the form of a book (the final product). It's my dream to one day do an in-depth photo project with Ugandan kids/teens, but it will take a LOT of thought, planning, and purpose--so it won't be happening in the next few months. For now, I'm just excited I could spend a few hours sharing my passion with some young people.

I couldn't have asked for better students. When I entered the "classroom," I was unsure what their response would be....and I was pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm! Not only did they have incredible eye contact while I spoke, but as I spoke they also asked various questions about lighting, the rule of 3rds, converging lines, etc. One of the biggest things I stressed to them was: "Please please please do not be afraid to get up close and personal with your subject!" to which one of them replied, "But Auntie, what if it's a dangerous subject--like a lion!?" Those are the Q's you get while teaching a photography class in Africa.


We spent some time outside so they could practice the various techniques I taught them, and I couldn't stop smiling as I watched them get creative and have fun taking photos. As they photographed various things (and each other!) they ran over to me--they showed me their camera, and said, "Auntie look at this photo! What about this one?" and I did my best to point out something positive (many of the photos were excellent) while also offering constructive criticism so they can improve.


I giggled quite a lot when I saw one of the boys grab an innocent chicken passing by; the boy lifted the chicken high above his head and then took a photo. He certainly took my advice seriously when I spoke about taking creative angles of the subject! :)

My point-and-shoot camera has not been used in a while, but I brought it along today and handed it over to one of the kids to use. I'm not sure which child took this photo of their friend, but I'm proud of them for demonstrating the "rule of thirds" which they learned about in class. (Placing the subject on a horizontal or vertical "third"--not in the middle of the photo.)


1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Wonderful wonderful wonderful! I was so happy to see some of the younger kids getting involved too. Have a blast with them =)