Throughout the school semester, I've held photo club sessions. The first one was a great session with an overflowing room of eager students. Soon after I realized they were only showing up to look at my photos, especially my photos of life in America. Not the worst thing ever but no one was actually taking pictures on their own. Turns out, most of them don't have cameras and/or access to computers. So I changed my game plan. I waited for the ice to melt and the rain to stop. When the sun appeared, I gathered up my 8th form girls - who are smart, trustworthy, and eager for anything - and invited them to a photo outing. The plan was to meet up during our May Day break and wander around.
It was a grand success. I had four girls show up at my front door ready to go. None of them have cameras but, luckily, I have two. Pairs were made and cameras handed out. I'm not usually the type to just hand my cameras off to anyone and the girls were stunned when I shoved the large black boxes into their hands. Walking down the street to our village pond, they were coming to terms with the weight of it all. They carried the cameras like each piece was an infant. Gingerly and protectively. After putting all the settings on auto (figured for the first day this was best), giving a few instructions, and showing a few examples, I stood back to watch. I watched them climb trees, hide in bushes, lay in flower beds, jump off benches, etc. for about 5 hours while they captured as many frames of our village as they could. They mastered buttons and settings I gave no instruction about. Using each other and myself as models, everyone got to see what it felt like to be in a frame and to create a frame. Video was taken too. Interviews were made. It was amazing.
The entire day was something I've hoped for since arriving in Syhnayivka nearly 5 months ago. Two of the girls that attended are girls I haven't had a good relationship with at school. They are sweet but sit on the side and prefer play with their cell phones over listening to me. On photo day, I had their complete attention. Our time in the classroom has greatly improved since. My favorite part was watching my girls hunker down or climb on things or do whatever they had to do to get the picture. They looked so serious yet funny while they worked. I have to laugh since I know I look just as silly when I work. As we worked our way across town, Yana Danilko said to me, "People look at us like we are crazy now." I smiled and said, "That's how they look at me every day." She replied, "Well that's because they don't know how cool this is." Once again, I love my job.
Now, please enjoy a selection of frames from the Syhnayivka Photo Club.
|All the ladies at the lake.|
|Yana Keshanco felt a little overwhelmed at first!|
|Photo of Yana Danilko by Sveta Lotisman|
|Rolling through town.|
|Photo of Yana and Yana by Sveta Lotisman|
|Sveta Lotisman working on some depth of field.|
|A very happy teacher!|
|Alona Pachna working on a few details.|
|And this is what she got!|
|Alona multi-tasking like a pro!|
|Yana Keshco mastered the action frame quickly.|
|The ladies gladly documented my first ice cream of the season.|
|Photo of Sveta Lotisman by Yana Danilko|
I had a second photo outing a few days later with Sveta and Yana? due to their skill and willingness to learn. They are now experimenting with pushing and pulling aka changing the setting to places the setting shouldn't go. They like to make intentional blur. They like to find something happening on the street and follow it. I couldn't be more proud. I just need to find them a better model but until then, they gladly photograph me!
|The classic 'mirror portrait' a bit stirred up.|
|Photo by Yana Danilko|