I know I’ve been horribly negligent and haven’t posted in a week–my semester is off to a hectic start. And I now have a second blog to maintain…and it’s graded. For my introductory production class, Media Practices: Concepts, we are expected to keep a blog as a portfolio of our work, class assignments, and thoughts on things related to the course. A lot of it might be boring or not make so much sense to those outside the class, but some of it will probably be quite interesting and quite relevant to this blog as well, so I’ll probably try to start cross-referencing, in the interest of expediency. In that spirit, here is a class assignment having to do with identifying different lighting techniques in photography. I drew my examples from the work of school children done through programs like Literacy Through Photography and Kids With Cameras. Some of the photographs these children take are absolutely remarkable and while many have the unique creativity and perspective of childhood, many have a surprising depth and sense of knowledge and maturity.
I think the kind of work these programs are doing is really interesting and inspiring and fits nicely within the broader framework of media literacy and media education initiatives. These are exactly the kinds of programs we need in order to empower young people to become producers, not only consumers, of media, and through the process to come to look at and understand themselves and the world around them in different, richer ways. Giving a child a camera, teaching them a skill like photography, gives them a new kind of agency, makes them not only an artist, but a documentarian of sorts, and this is a source of potentially enormous power for these children, now and in the future.