One of the greatest aspects of teaching is watching your students grow through the process of your class. Some kids who participate in Youth Voices have very little experience with digital media production tools. Some have never held a camera. Some have never opened an email account. To see them acquire the tools and use them, sometimes even in their own unique way, from my perspective, is what it is all about.
And then, there are the rare cases when there is a truly gifted student who has enters class with experience and talent. In this instance at Environmental Charter High School, a student has fit the bill.
When introducing our digital photography workshop, Angeles Urban, a senior at ECHS, snapped some amazing photos during the camera activity assignment. With little or no formal photography background, her eye for framing and detail amazed the class.
I asked her to share her background and interest in photography and had this to say: "Well, I got my first camera the summer before 9th grade, as a birthday present. I carried that camera throughout my high school years. It was very special to me because it documented very important times and people in my life; like beach trips with my close friend and the first time I saw my favorite band. (That first camera broke. I still have it, but I bought a "better" one.)
At school, my friends, a teacher and I started a photography club, but, we didn't get very far. We did put out pictures in ECHS' Literary Magazine, "Exhale." I wasn't part of the school's yearbook, but my pictures are in the yearbook. My close friends were part of the yearbook and they would ask me to take pictures at events, and that's how my pictures ended up in the yearbook.
I have never taken any classes. I believe that photography should be natural, meaning I don't really plan to take classes or learn technical terms and all that (but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy photography that is edited or professionally taken). I find it hard to capture people and the Pacific Ocean. Any chance to take pictures for something beneficiary is always great."
Angeles eventually became the main photographer of our shoots. Click above to see the photos she took around ECHS's campus during our first photography activity.