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Leimert Park Workshop #2: Finding Focus

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We began the second Leimert Park Youth Voices workshop by reflecting on our previous meeting, in which the student producers had done a substantial amount of personal research and critical thinking about their understanding and role in their neighborhood. Now for this second workshop they needed to bring that research and insight together to begin to hone in on the stories they want to tell.

They had their production notes and personal map to refer to and four themes to select from:

  • What location in my neighborhood would I like to see changed? Why? How?
  • What location in my neighborhood has history I'd like to share?
  • What location in my neighborhood has art people should be aware of?
  • What location in my neighborhood benefits the community? How?

Once the students selected a theme, they shared their ideas with the group, discussing the reasons for their choice, and the location they wanted to explore with their theme. After jotting down some details in their production notes -- possible location contacts, interview candidates, production schedule -- the students were asked to re-frame their thinking and explore how they can translate their ideas into the visual language of photography and video: What images can you create to tell your stories and represent your neighborhood?
It was now time to move on to the media workshops and explore the tools the students will be using to collect and produce their digital stories.

We began with photography by introducing some of its basic principles: framing, composition, the rule of thirds, exposure, light, and color. To practice these new set of photo skills the students were given an assignment: create a photo essay on the location they had chosen in Leimert Park Village, and develop a story based on their theme. They were instructed to take pictures of people, architecture, activities, signage, art, and anything else they felt could elaborate on their theme. Take a look below at what the students chose to focus on with their cameras.

Taking the workshop into the community, Lewa photographs the Leimert Plaza Park:

Joy photographs the art of Degnan Boulevard:
Anbiya applies her photo skills to explore the World Stage:

Photos by Youth Voices student producers Joy Combs, Lewa Pinkney, and Anbiya Smith and KCET Departures Site Editor, Yosuke Kitazawa

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