Last week I wrote about my students and their foray into photography under the influence of Ansel Adams. Going a bit deeper into both photography and activism, this week we’ve turned our attention to Dorothea Lange. Starting with Ansel Adams felt easy. He focused on nature, using Yosemite and other National Parks as his playground. His photography feels akin to mine, paying attention to beauty in nature, noticing light and shadow, marrying photography to walking and hiking and moving around outdoors.
Dorothea Lange and her photography pushes me. I seldom photograph people–with the exception of my three grandsons–feeling awkward getting close, zooming in to capture expressions of genuine emotion. (Weirdly, it doesn’t feel awkward with my grandsons. I’ve been photographing them since they were born–and they’re still little. I think they just see my camera as an extension of me–they are fascinated with it and the idea of photography when I am around.)
So today…maybe to avoid the awkwardness of photographing one another, my students and I set out with iPads in hand to find faces. I asked them to find faces rather than make faces or take photos of faces on a mural. I hadn’t pre-scouted the campus to see if I could find faces, instead I just trusted that my students would be creative and find something interesting.
Because of Monday’s schedule, I haven’t yet seen what my students came up with, but I did capture a few of my own found faces.
Here’s one I noticed from a sideways view hanging out on the playground equipment.
And there was this face, complete with sombrero!
Looking up, I caught these eyes looking out over the playing field.
And heading back to the classroom, I noticed this shy face hanging back behind the shrubbery.
I’m not really sure where we will go with these photos…what writing we might pair with these found faces. I do know that our next step is to consider how to use a photo to advocate for something that needs our attention…so stayed tuned. There will be more to report soon! (I hope!)