We had a very successful visit to the Bronx Documentary Center on Tuesday to see Carlos Javier Ortiz’s We All We Got, a show on gun violence in urban America. The center’s founder, Mike Kamber, was very gracious in indulging the many curious questions from our students. Two highlights of the visit were when Mike introduced the kids to his 4 x 5 camera and also to a Polaroid image in the show in which Carlos displays the positive and negative. That was really interesting for our students, and Jabari was the first to say that the negative looked like ‘infrared.” Nicholas picked that negative as his favorite photo explaining that it looked “aged and even a little scary,” which fit the theme of the show.
When it came time to choose a photo from the show to share with the group, Khidar, our youngest student, was a bit tentative. Normally eager to participate in all group activities, the show had certainly left an impression on Khidar as he told the group that “I don’t really like anything about gun violence because my mind is just too positive.” His mother, who was also on the trip, added that Khidar is very emotional; she thought he’d excel in photography because he’d be able to funnel some of his emotions into his work. She was right! Last week Khidar was the first to make 2 prints in the darkroom and this is his very first photography class!
It’s always great to have families join us on trips. During the students’ discussion about their favorite image in the show, we prompted the parents to also contribute any impressions they had. Evan’s dad, also a photographer, made some important comments about juxtaposition (relief vs. chaos and pain) when putting two sort of opposite images together in a show. He also made note of how it is important to consider your perspective when shooting; he likes to include many subjects in a frame to tell a more interesting story.