Friday, October 27, 2006

OJOS nuevos: clase número cuatro

Objective for Week 4: Portraits: Part II. Students will continue to explore portraiture in an experimental but guided manner. The goal for this week is to push past initial compositions and habitual picture taking.

Working in any of our hogares, I think we would all agree that we have to be able to be flexible and patient. I know I had had a plan for the 8 week class, but because of the nature of the hogar, I have had to switch things around a lot. We weren't initially going to focus on portraiture two weeks in a row, but due to many unforseen circumstances, it seemed best to continue for one more week with a similar objective. We are about at the half way point for class, and to keep ideas fresh I decided to dedicate class #4 to brainstorming and discussion. Gathered around the computer, we started by reviewing a series of portraits I took of Lena. Because they are becoming more comfortable discussing photography, they immediately began conversing over which photos provoked which emotions. Some photos had more extreme compositions than others, some contained strange effects of light and shadow. I remember in the beginning of this project, the girls would review their photos on their cameras and immediately judge them, asking me to please teach them how to delete the images (the cameras are in english). Now they are learning to wait and view the image for what it is, because an "imperfect" image might actually be more interesting and creative. I saw them taking their time when viewing the portraits of Lena, and formulating more carefully their responses.

For the bulk of this week's class, we spread out in the comedor, or dining room, each student at one table. I passed out a large sheet of brown paper and markers, and asked the girls to write "Mi Hogar" in the center (my home). To the tunes of Andrew Bird, we created mind maps exploring thought patterns, associations, and connections stemming from the center and blooming to fill the whole paper. I thought I would have to help them more, walk around and encourage them to keep thinking, but more than half of the girls seemed to take off running with the concept. It did seem to help for me to reassure them that these were private exercises, and they should write their associations honestly.

Project for Week 4: Continue exploring portraiture, referencing the ideas and feelings from class discussions and documented on your mind map.


The first class of OJOS nuevos will meet for another 4 weeks. While we are excited to have started class, our resources are incredibly limited. We cannot keep the program running without the help of our supporters. If you would like to see OJOS nuevos succeed, please contribute in any way possible. Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped us come this far.

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