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Photography Workshop with Teens in Haiti: Post #2 Jacmel, Haiti 2012

June 21, 2012 Leave a comment

I worked with the children at Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel for three days.

On day one I began by setting up the equipment with Fedno, who has some experience with a camera and did not have a full day of school.  I brought with me:  a portable white cloth tent called a PortaCube from Calumet that I could use with natural light, a white shower curtain, a large roll of black gaffers tape and an inexpensive tripod.  I decided that lights would be impossible to sustain.  The electricity in Jacmel is iffy.  Teenagers break things and bulbs, etc. are not easy to find.  And the sun is really, really bright in Haiti.

A real stroke of luck was the presence of Yves, a doctoral student from Haiti, raised in Brooklyn from age 8, who was accompanying his girlfriend Jenny to the foundation.  Jenny was working with the younger kids on a protrait project and Yves was free to translate for me.  The language spoken in Haiti is Creole, a mixture of French and African languages, and I couldn’t understand a word.

Fedno was very quick to catch on to the use of the equipment.  It had been suggested that the upstairs balcony would be a good place to work.  It is in shade most of the day and has terrific light, so Fedno and I taped the shower curtain to the wall for use in shooting paintings and opened the tent and placed it on two chairs pushed together.  We were in business.  While we waited for the other kids to arrive from school, I photographed the paintings of three artists trained at the foundation who are about to graduate from high school so that they would have a record of their work.

When the kids arrived and had had lunch (during the school year a substantial lunch is served to all – during vacations, there are 3 meals a day) I demonstrated how to open the tent and use the tripod.  The foundation already has a supply of basic digital point and shoot cameras.

The tent was used to photograph paper mache objects, small mosaic pieces and small paintings on canvas board.  It worked beautifully; the light was diffused and the point and shoot cameras worked.

  I breathed a sigh of relief.  the kids were elated by how good their images looked.  On the lower right is translator Yves.

On the second day I spent the morning teaching Fedno some more advanced aspects of photography.  He had wondered about the histogram on his more advanced camera and was elated to learn what it signified.  We also worked on control of aperture and speed.  It was gratifying to see how quickly he absorbed these principles of photography.

When the rest of the group arrived, we spent hours on the balcony practicing what they had learned the day before.  First they took photographs of each other so that each person’s memory card began with an image defining whose camera it was.

Then the kids began to practice, first shooting objects,

and then paintings, using the shower curtain background.  What was most gratifying to me was the way I could step back and watch them help each other.

On the third day, we looked at the work on a notebook computer.  Everyone was thrilled to see his/her work on the screen.  We made a file for each person and transferred the images into the files for storage.  Again, I was glad to step back and watch them help each other work with the computer.Then, along with Monica, who had helped with the initial computer set-up (I am not well versed in the mysteries of PCs, being an Apple user), we went to a favorite local spot for soda and juice!

An Inspiring Week with Haitian Teens: Post #1 Jacmel, Haiti 2012

June 17, 2012 Leave a comment

I have just returned from a wonderful week teaching a group of Haitian teenagers in Jacmel how to photograph their artwork.

Art Creation Foundation for Children was founded by my childhood friend Judy Hoffman in 2000 as a way to help street children in the town of Jacmel to get an education and learn crafts by which they could earn a living.  Little did she know what she was getting herself into.  Before the 2010 earthquake, the project included 60 children and a small staff.  The foundation now takes care of 100 children and their families.  A few of the children are orphaned; most have some family, but none had attended school or eaten on a regular basis prior to joining ACFFC.  The foundation provides a safe place to be after school, a place to do homework and to learn about and create artwork.  During the school year, the children’s school fees are paid and they are provided with uniforms, shoes, backpacks, books and a substantial lunch after school.  During vacations, they are served three meals a day.  A major goal is for each child to be able to be self-supporting and to have a real sense of community as he or she becomes an adult.

I arrived in Jacmel with my friend Monica to learn more first-hand about the foundation and to hold a workshop for some of the older children on how to photograph their artwork – mainly objects of papier mache and paintings.  It was a wonderful week and we all learned a great deal.

We somehow negotiated our way out of the totally chaotic airport Port au Prince and crossed over the mountains south to Jacmel.  Fairly hair-raising, although our driver, Juice, was really skilled at passing every person or vehicle in front of us, using an intricate combination of honks that seemed to be a common language understood by all, whether on foot or in some kind of vehicle.  We were glad to arrive in Jacmel.

This was our first introduction to the foundation:
We turned left and then right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There we were met at the door to the courtyard by Georges Metallus, the Executive Director in Haiti.

 

I will continue my story in the coming days and weeks, so that I can share my impressions of the children, their accomplishments and the work the foundation is involved in with you all.

For the moment – a peek at the group of teenagers I worked with:

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Bunnies on Madison Avenue

March 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Easter is a week away and a crowd of bunnies is waiting to celebrate on Madison Avenue.

How cute are these guys?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or these?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the wanna-bes are endearing…..

I hope someone adopts these too….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you come to New York, try to find this window.  If you have a child with you, you will have to take one home!

 

 

The Liberty Guys at my Subway Station

February 26, 2012 1 comment

I love these Liberty Tax guys.  Every day one of them appears at my subway stop to distribute postcards for Miss Liberty Tax preparation.  They give out postcards with an offer.  The card has a picture of Miss LIberty Tax 2012.  None of these guys looks a bit like the real Miss Liberty Tax.  No problem.  They’re always cheerful, always friendly…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always there, rain or shine…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offering a deal…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wearing a silly suit….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always smiling and friendly…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They brighten up our subway station.

 

 

A New York Moment – Man with Reindeer

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I love New York.  I love having an iPhone with a camera.  This is what I saw on the corner of 75th and Madison a couple of days ago.

Why is he carrying a big, stuffed, white reindeer?  Where is he going?

We will never know.

Happy Holidays to All!

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I am beginning to relax now, as gifts and cards are wrapped and addressed and on their way.  I would like to share some of the cards I have sent over the past few years.

This magic moment occurred early one morning when we woke up to a fresh snowfall.  In my robe, I ran for my 6×7 film camera and shuffled out to the patio to take this photograph before the snow melted or blew away.  Within a half hour, this beautiful scene had become ordinary.

During the next couple of years,  I was busy building a portfolio of color botanicals and used images that seemed seasonal in color and feeling, although shot during the summer.

This red poppy was a particular hit.

And this clematis looked to me like it could decorate a Christmas tree.

This year I had a lucky break.   After a blizzard last December, I took a walk and photographed this snowy scene (and blogged about it).  I could relax all year knowing that I had this wonderful image in my library.

With these images I wish you all a Joyous Holiday and a Happy and a Healthy New Year!

Two Grandsons, Three Photographs

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

My two grandsons are nearly the same age, but live on opposite ends of the country.  They are not often in the same place at the same time.  It is a lucky summer for me when I can photograph them together with  my film cameras to make classic black and white prints.  The year-to-year changes are sometimes subtle, sometimes not, but always  interesting:

Julian and Anthony at 15 (2006)

Anthony and Julian at 16:

Anthony and Julian at 20

I love these photographs.