Boys & Girls Clubs of America has designed an exciting program that promotes an engaging hands-on approach to photography on a number of levels. ImageMakers is a comprehensive photography program for all Boys & Girls Club members from ages 6 to 18. This program does not depend upon possession of 35mm cameras, digital cameras, computers for image editing, darkrooms, etc.
The Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced components of ImageMakers are the heart of the program. Each component has eight sessions and embraces four different modalities for approaching photography:
1. Photography is a way of seeing. When was the last time any of us really took a good look at the grain in the wood of our favorite chair, or the pattern of light that streams through our bedroom window in the morning? As we go through this incredibly visual world, we let our eyes roam and many details of the world around us get lost. By tuning our eyes to the viewfinder of a camera, we gain a new window into the world around us, allowing us to see things in a new light.
2. Photography is a way of expressing. Whether you are trying to share an experience or an emotion, or trying to sell the benefits of a new product to consumers, a photograph can be an elegant and powerful means of expression. The familiar saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is true. What better expresses a marathon runner crossing the finish line: newspaper articles or a single photograph? The look of exhaustion, triumph and profound satisfaction on a runner’s face as she crosses the finish line usually says more about that unique moment than any story could hope to say. By connecting our thoughts to visual images and representations, photography offers us a valuable tool of communication.
3. Photography is a way of documenting. Most of us have seen the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. But is that what the trip was really like? Is that what they wore? Do those expressions on their faces really show what they were feeling? The painter couldn’t have been rowing along in a nearby boat, sketching and painting throughout that crossing. Instead, the painting is more a product of the artist’s imagination than an actual window into our nation’s history. Photographs, however, faithfully preserve images of what really happened. Wildlife photographers document species of animals in every corner of the globe. Wedding photographers capture the details of a special and memorable event. Newspaper photographers travel to where news is happening to show you what is really going on. Thanks to documentary photographs, we know what landscapes, people and cultures are like in faraway places, and we can appreciate and learn from what happened long ago.
4. Photography is a way of storytelling. A movie is really just thousands of photographs shown one right after another to tell a story. But even a single photograph can let us experience a story. By studying a photograph, we can see who people are, where they come from, where they go and what happens to them. The only limit to the stories you can tell with a photograph — or a series of photographs — is your own imagination.
Each session of ImageMakers will involve Club members in: hands-on activities; examinations of photographs from current news media and from famous photographers; discussions of composition and intention; practical drills to acquire new skills; and final challenges to reinforce the session’s explorations. Whether it’s creating a self-portrait, documenting a family event, or exploring the Club itself, members get involved on both sides of the lens.
Throughout the program, members will be paying greater attention to the wealth of images that surround us all. They will find photos in magazines and newspapers; on television and in the movies; in textbooks and picture books; and at photography exhibits in local galleries or museums. Members will respond to an inquiry-based analysis of these images: What caught your eye? Where do you think the photographer was standing? What was the photographer trying to say? What did the photographer make sure to include, and to leave out? What do you think is going on in this picture? How do you think the photographer achieved these results?
After participating in the ImageMakers program, members will be intimately familiar with the way a camera works and the process of picture-taking. They will also develop an understanding of the many roles — both artistic and vocational — that photography plays in our lives. And even when they do not have an actual camera in their hands, members will have learned to see and appreciate the world around them through a new and more focused lens.
Sessions begin: TBD