Documentary photography workshops started in school this week, the second of our skills training workshops for the young people creating and curating the 21st century part of Children’s Lives.
Last week we focussed on story telling skills, how to listen to the stories of others and how to tell the stories of your own life in a confident way with lots of description and detail. See Juliet Fry’s Blog post for more details.
Re-visiting some of the photographs we had seen in collections in the archives a couple of weeks ago was useful, both for reminding us of images we liked and for triggering a discussion on which photos were effective in telling a story of the past. Everyone seemed drawn to a different style of photo and it gave us a sense that there were many ways to take a documentary photo and many different styles to consider when trying to capture something that may tell us things in the future. We considered landscape photos (Warwickshire Photographic Survey), posed studio photos (Dyche Collection), school photos (Waverley School Collection), photos taken by charities working with poor children in early 1900s and more contemporary photographs by Vanley Burke and George Hallett. The focus for the workshop was thinking about how we could capture our own documentary photos for the project and how to select the right photo that would say something about the contemporary life of young people. We had a good discussion on whether posed or natural photos were more effective as documentary photos and which of these styles would tell more about the lives of young people in Birmingham now.
There was just time to practice taking a few photos in the playground and around school and to have a chat about photography permission forms before our session came to an end.
With half term next week, the idea is that the young people on the project will have some time to start documenting their lives through photography, where they go, who they hang out with, what sports, clubs and activities they do, what it’s like living in their house, down their street, in that area of the city. Keep a look out for the results…..