For our second week at YouthRap, we were able to take the young artists outside and explore the surrounding community in a way that we, as instructors, had not been exposed to. The themes for the week were community and growth, and what better place to explore those themes than in the community at locations the young artists know so well? After heading down the street and photographing at a community park, we walked to the Smith Hill Community Library where we explored, photographed and talked about our favorite shots taken that day.
Reflecting back on the day, it was much more engaging and interactive for both the instructors and the young artists. Being outside I think was a great way to open up; whether that be with our personalities or with the photos we were talking, we all began to feel much more comfortable with each other and were able to interact without hesitation. The young artists were enthusiastically to be able to show us parts of their community while we were able to express how to use a camera to pair with their excitement. While we did have to remind them about the camera wrist straps on a few occasions, their engaging attitudes made this session much more enjoyable.
I think a breakthrough with one of our young artist’s occurred when we allowed her to use her phone to photograph. She no longer realized she had to hold a camera in her hand in order to express herself; her pink phone could do the job too. One of the photographs she took through a playground element was so eye-catching that it was one of the highlights of the group for that session. I can still see the image in my head; while she photographed someone taking a photo of her with a camera, it was through a man-made log/tunnel. It was almost a lens in a lens with another lens at the end. It was a moment to realize that art and photography doesn’t have to come with a camera – in fact, it can come from anywhere.
Kurt Grunder, Providence College Class of 2017, Global Studies & French Double Major