My friend Leanna is an instructor for a very cool program called Photopiece. Photopiece is a photography program that invites teenagers to get in touch with the stories they have to tell, and encourages them to do so through photography. Starting in 2001 in downtown Los Angeles with special education kids from Latino immigrant families, Photopiece has since expanded to rural Oregon, Mexico, and Ecuador.
In addition to teaching the basics of photography, Leanna brings her students to museums and brings in working photographers to talk with the kids about photography as a career. Last year I went with a slideshow and did a Q&A, but this year I wanted to REALLY show them what I do and give them a chance to try it out themseves.
So we packed up the lights, the camera bags, and our dog Squeak. We set up a backdrop and rigged the lighting set-up for them. I talked to them about how to photograph a dog, how to compose shots, how to find the light, etc. and then I handed them the camera! At first, they were a little "too cool for school, " but once one of them got up to do it, they were all in (I had to pry the camera out of one kid's hands). It was incredibly gratifying and a lot of fun – Some of them really listened to me and got some pretty incredible shots.
Here are a few highlights shot by my Mini-Me's (and a shot of Squeak and his new handler – This kid certainly has a future as an animal trainer – he worked Squeak for all his classmates and did an excellent job!):