Workshops For At Risk Youth

445 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
445
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
6
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Workshops For At Risk Youth

  1. 1. 11/20/10 5:48 PMWorkshops for at-risk youth Page 1 of 4http://www.tomrchambers.com/wfary.html Workshops for at-risk youth I. Polaroid Power: An Instant Look at Ourselves (1988) This six-week photographic workshop was conducted for inner-City youth at the Whitmarsh House, Providence, Rhode Island as a part of the Metro Arts program, a substance-abuse prevention program through the Arts. The Polaroid medium was utilized to offer instant results as visual concepts were pursued. This "quick" image was instrumental in providing stimulus and accessibility to analysis. A materials grant (cameras and film) was obtained from the Polaroid Foundation. Each session progressed through visualization levels to offer the core-group members guidance re: portraiture, composition, shape and form, foreground/background relationship, depth-of-field, juxtaposition, collage/montage and documentary. Session A: A core-group member was utilized as the sole subject, as his colleagues made photographs (one per member) at their discretion. The portraits differ, even though they are of the same individual, and reveal a multiform subject as perceived by the other members. The subject evolves as a flesh object, determined by each colleague's approach to visualization of his co-member. A remote-control device was held by the subject to make his own photograph through self-portraiture. The camera was placed in-hand (per member) for the first time and through familiarity and friendship within the core-group, the visualization process began. Session B: The core-group members continued portraiture through team activity. Two teams made photographs (one camera per team) at their own discretion, and they worked independently of each other. It's interesting that many of the images involved a particular colleague. This is due, possibly, to his personality and his willingness to be photographed and his rapport with the members or a combination thereof. A few members chose to document the environs of the classroom. Two of the images display slow-shutter-speed/camera-movement technique that conjures-up the esprit, and reveals passage of time. The camera was placed in-hand (per member) for the second time and through team approach, photographs were made in a consultative manner or discussion between the members. Session C: The core-group members moved outdoors, and formed two teams (one camera per team). They pursued site documentation at their own discretion, but based upon classroom discussion re: portraiture, composition, shape and form, foreground/background relationship, depth-of-field, juxtaposition, collage/montage and documentary. Various images display a premeditated approach to the subject(s)/object(s), and impart knowledge of the value of the visual. One image in particular - hands and arms extended in front of a brick wall - is a good example of superimposition, pattern, contrast, coloration, shape/form and animate/inanimate comparison. Other images - subjects jumping from entrance steps - exemplify the passage of time (blurred movement) and the stoppage of time (frozen movement). The outdoors extended the boundaries ad infinitum, and afforded greater flexibility for documentation. Session D: The core-group members moved outdoors, and worked as a unit in response to assignment documentation. The colleagues worked through four assignments at their own discretion: 1) object/automobile - shape/form and image design; 2) subject/staff aide - environmental portraiture and candid; 3) subject(s)/children playing soccer - documentary; 4) object/facility and windows - shape/form and
  2. 2. 11/20/10 5:48 PMWorkshops for at-risk youth Page 2 of 4http://www.tomrchambers.com/wfary.html architectural. When the images (per assignment category) are seen as a collection, they represent unit (entire core-group) coverage, and make us aware that even though the objects/subjects are perceived differently per individual, visual relationships exist to convey meaning. Parts make up a whole and in this case, each core-group member contributed a visual part to the whole re: assignment documentation. Session E: The core-group members moved outdoors, and formed two teams (two cameras per team). A member was designated team leader (per team), and was asked to make assignments at his own discretion. A particular group of images involves shadow- play, and imparts an otherworldliness. It represents a good example of a shape/form study, and displays the arrangement of parts composed. Another group of images - automobile surfaces and emblems - is a good example of a shape/form study, and it evokes moodiness through soft-focus and catch-lighting from the flash attachment on the camera. The two images of the sky - one without a reference point and the other with one (top corner of a building) - are a good example of documentation of the latter needing the former to convey meaning, and provide correct identification. Task responsibility increased for the team leaders as they not only pursued self- visualization, but also guided the colleagues through their visualization process. Session F: The core-group members moved outdoors, and formed four teams (one camera per team). They worked independently of each other. Photographs were made of objects/subjects at each team's discretion, but based upon classroom discussion of visualization and analysis of images made during previous sessions. The two images of foliage, the image of the toilet and the image of a dirt-floor room conjured-up for a particular member, the Vietnam War and plight of the POWs. The images of hand-play and composite Polaroids on the automobile surface impart an aesthetic study of the producers (the core-group members) and the product (Polaroid prints). Session G: The core-group members pursued exposures in assembled sequences that challenge the single-instant, single-viewpoint image. This is in keeping with David Hockney' collages involving instant prints. The members made photographs of one another and the instructor by visually sectioning the subject into thirds, then arranging the sections (per subject) to make a collage portrait. The group moved outdoors to continue the sectioning technique and collage approach to objects and sites. The collage of the house displays a vertical panorama; the collage of the door to a women's restroom is reminiscent of Western paintings and photographs of adobe structures due to simplistic design and coloration of the doorway and wall; and the collages of the automobiles are reminiscent of the two-fold and three-fold ads in magazines. This sectioning of subjects, locations and objects forced the core-group members to view the documentation area over and over for increased awareness to visualization; and the placing of the images to form meaningful collages reinforced the members' minds-eye re: parts make up a whole. Session H: The core-group members moved outdoors as a unit (one camera per member), and pursued assignment documentation throughout the neighborhood. As the group moved from location to location, they asked various individuals and groups of individuals in the neighborhood to be a part of the documentation process. The members made documentary photographs of a family relaxing on their front porch, a man walking down a street listening to police and fire calls on his portable scanner, a family of older siblings taking care of younger ones in front of their home, a mother watching over her children while sitting on a street curb, a man going over
  3. 3. 11/20/10 5:48 PMWorkshops for at-risk youth Page 3 of 4http://www.tomrchambers.com/wfary.html documents at his automobile, a group of children gathered on top of an automobile trunk and a woman and child inside her automobile while waiting for relatives to join them. II. Our Third Eye: A Polaroid Project (1990) This four-week, photographic workshop was taught for inner-City youth at the Smith Hill Center, Providence, Rhode Island as a part of the Metro Arts program, a substance-abuse prevention program through the Arts. The Polaroid medium was utilized to record our third eye, and to offer instant results as visual concepts were pursued. A materials grant (cameras and film) was obtained from the Polaroid Foundation. Each session progressed through visualization levels to offer the core- group members guidance re: visualization/evaluation of their surroundings and confidence-building for the interactive process. Sessions A & B: The core-group members moved outside and remained in the immediate vicinity of Smith Hill Center. They approached an area/situation as a team, and made one exposure each. This team- or group-approach provided a comparative study of their third eye or ability to visualize/evaluate through a medium. As the core-group members ventured from site to site, but still within the immediate vicinity of the Center, directions were given to not only visualize/evaluate an area/situation, but also manipulate or introduce a factor that would change the documentary result. This interactive process within an area or as a part of a situation began to instill a greater confidence within the core-group as they journeyed onward. Ten areas/situations reflect the core-group's ability to begin to visualize/evaluate with their third eye. The interactive process is seen as a part of: shadow-play, gentleman in an auto, towels, trash cans and no parking anytime sign. Session C: The core-group members ventured farther away from the Smith Hill Center facility, and moved into an activity at a local grocery store parking lot. They continued their team approach per area/situation as it relates to visualization/evaluation and to the interactive process. Each grouping of photographs shows either the human element or an object that relates to the activity: in this case, Valueland's Special Events Day. One of the core-group members acted as group leader to determine area/situation for documentation. The core group moved away from the previous activity, and ventured down the street. Still under the leadership of the same core-group member, various areas/items/objects and a situation were visualized/evaluated for documentation. These groupings of images concentrate on item/object documentation, and enhance considerations for perspective, lighting and shape/form. The core-group shifted from inanimate to inanimate. Session D: The core-group members ventured even farther away from the Smith Hill Center facility, and moved into the neighborhood of one of the members. This member became group leader, and determined the area/situation for team documentation. These groupings of images show an overview of the group leader's neighborhood: his home and sister, aunt, grandmother, friends and other neighborhood homes. The core group moved into the neighborhood of another member. Group leadership shifted to this member for team documentation of the area/situation. These groupings of images show an overview of the group leader's neighborhood: political/retail signs, homes and foliage. Additional coverage continued later as a part of the annual Providence Waterfront Festival and as an extension of the workshop process. The core-group members provided documentation with a certain self-confidence and skill-level that were acquired as a part of the workshop process.
  4. 4. 11/20/10 5:48 PMWorkshops for at-risk youth Page 4 of 4http://www.tomrchambers.com/wfary.html News coverage: Inner-City youths who said yes to the arts will march and demonstrate their crafts (Taking charge of their lives): Visitors to the 1990 Providence Waterfront Festival will want to keep their eyes peeled and their watches synchronized for a unique parade scheduled for 2pm tomorrow. That's when a troupe of about 60 children from the City's Metro-Arts program will wind their way through the festival crowd, carrying brightly colored banners and performing juggling and acrobatic tricks. "We've got clowns and jugglers and all kinds of things," says Metro- Arts coordinator, Thomas Russack. "The kids have worked especially hard because they know they are going to have a big audience." The parade will eventually work its way back to the eastern edge of India Point Park, where the Metro-Arts program also is sponsoring a demonstration of African drumming and a mural-painting workshop. Both the demonstration and the workshop are free and open to the public. The parade also will call attention to one of the State's most innovative programs for dealing with the problem of teenage substance abuse. Founded in 1985 at the Smith Hill Center in Providence, Metro-Arts organizes regular arts and crafts workshops for children ages 8 to 14, who are considered to be at risk from temptations of drugs and alcohol. "We try to show them that there are alternatives to things like crack and booze," Russack says. "If we can teach them to have confidence in their own abilities - if we can get them to believe in themselves - then there's less chance that they'll reach for some kind of crutch. We use the Arts as a way of getting them to take charge of their lives." The program currently serves seven Providence neighborhoods, including Elmwood, Federal Hill, Fox Point, South Providence and the West End. Workshops are held in local community centers, such as the Fox Point Boys and Girls Club on the East Side and the Hartford Park Community Center in Olneyville, and are run by professional artists whose interests range from theater and photography to juggling and balloon- making. The parade and other Metro-Arts activities will be captured on film by a team of fledgling photojournalists under the supervision of Tom R. Chambers, Providence artist and photographer. Using cameras donated by the Polaroid Foundation, Chambers recently held a four-week workshop at the Smith Hill Center that explored the styles and techniques of photojournalism. "I think I got as much out of it as they did," Chambers says. "They have so much energy and enthusiasm. Partly, it's discovering something new, like how to work a camera or how to think the way a news photographer thinks. But it's also a thrill for them to be challenged in a creative way. I think that's something they don't really get enough of." (Bill Van Siclen, Arts Writer, The Providence Journal-Bulletin, Providence, Rhode Island, September 7, 1990) (Please note: images re: the workshops are not available at this time due to non- access of originals that reside at the Smith Hill Center.) III. Street Kids In Action (SKIA) Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa (1993-1995)

×