About a week ago, my friend Niki (of TotalFest fame) asked me if I would be interested in talking to the photography club at Hellgate High School, where she works with the Flagship Program. My instant reaction was "of course." A few nano-seconds after getting off the phone, it dawned on me that I didn't really ask what I would be talking about, who I would be talking to, why I was being asked, etc. After a volley of emails and phone calls, I learned that the photo club at HHS was working on a documentary photo project in which they will be documenting diversity week - a noble, and very broad topic. I wrestled with taking some sort of academic approach to talking to them about things like "what is documentary photography?" and "why documentary?" then, I came to my senses. Trying to take this approach was ridiculous and would not only be uber-unhelpful and boring to a group of teenagers who meet after school is over, but would also probably bore ME to tears and make me feel like an imposter. Plus, I like to shoot sporty-type things, and actiony-type things and peopley-type things, so plan B was to do a little dance at the beginning with some background info, some introduction stuff, and then then steer it towards being a lively conversation. Bull's Eye!
Some of the students were quiet, but I was shocked (aka blown away, impressed, stunned) at how much some of the others piped up and how much they knew. I had my notes and my key points - heck I even typed up a list of helpful web sites and brought books and a slide show - but the conversations that got going were by far the best part. With the questions, comments, stories that came out, I think it would have been easy to stay in that corner of the library for several more hours. Turned out to be a damn fine experience for me and I hope for the students of the photo club at HHS. If you wanna see the results, their images from diversity week will be hanging at the Downtown Dance Collective on First Friday in November.