My first workshop day.
I had again ordered a taxi that picked me up from home and brought back in the evening. While I was waiting for the taxi to arrive at home I came to chat with a lady that lives in the same house with me. She lives just below me in an apartment. She studies and will go to the UK in 4 months to study more and improve her English.
She was asking what I am waiting for and where I am going, and as I explained she just asked if she could come with me.
Me being open-minded I said yes. And it turned out to be a really good thing that she was with me. Her name is Greensha and she is a really lovely woman and person. And she was so much help with translating things for the youths.
I have 7 girls and one boy attending the workshop. Their age is between 14 and 18 years. Very sweet youths. Some of them have been living their whole life in the village, meaning that they were brought there when they were less than 6months.
First I explained them why we are there. That we are trying to learn how to use a camera and how to express feelings trough a picture. I have to take slow and small steps with them as no one of them has ever had a camera in their hand before.
I showed them some of my own work, and some of the images what the other people in the workshops had done before.
After that I explained some simple rules about the construction of the image; Golden ratio, use of colours and symbols.
Then the kids got to practise. First just how to even take an image, then the golden ratio. Then I gave them all 2 feelings I wanted them to take a picture about, remembering to think about colours and symbols. This was first a bit difficult and they had to think for a long time to get the idea what I was actually asking for.
But in the end they really managed well.
Greensha was a great help as she translated whenever the kids did not understand, and she also helped them with the cameras when I was busy with someone else. So basically out of nowhere I got a perfect assistant for me, who liked the whole thing so much that she wants to come every time now.
After the workshop Sudha, who has been in the village since she was 2 days old, took me for a tour. She says she is very happy there and that it is the best village in Kerala. As I asked how come she explained that their village is very organized. When you come into the village first there is the office and behind the office is a big playground area where you can play volleyball, basketball, badminton, football etc.
Next to the playfield, in the middle of the village is the auditorium (which also was our classroom) and kindergarten building. Around this central building all the 15 homes are spread in a half circle. Sudha explained that there are 5 Christian homes and 3 Muslim homes and 7 Hindu homes. All the homes are same size and same layout. Each home has a girl’s room, boy’s room, prayer room and mother’s room. Then there are the common areas, kitchen and bathrooms. They don’t have much possession, mainly just their schoolbooks and clothes. But the girls said they don’t need anything. They are happy that way.
After the tour we headed towards home trough the really bad evening traffic, the sun was red and the air slightly cooler than during the day. In the car Greensha said “ my family has got all the money, but that happiness that those kids have there…. Hard to explain, but I don’t think that exists in very many places”
Today we started with memorizing the things we had learned yesterday; Golden ratio, use of colours in images and symbols. After that I taught a bit more about the technical side of the camera. The kids learned how to use different settings and how to control the light.
After all the boring stuff we had a short session of memory work practise. Basically the youths told memories about their childhood. Some of them remembered how they came to the village, most of them don’t. They told about their dreams when they were younger and what they would like to become.
The stories were really interesting and sometimes they got so exited to tell that they forgot to speak English, but for me the main thing was that they were talking and memorizing.
As this memory work practice as a basis I sent them to photograph a story. I gave them completely free hands what kind of a story it had to be, they could come up with anything. The only guideline I gave was that it has to have a beginning, middle and an end.
They came back with several really nice and clever picture stories. They used the other kids as actors in the images, and everyone seemed to have fun. I will post here a few now, and later more once I get them ready.
Then we uploaded their images on the laptop and all watched them together and discussed what they wanted to tell with the story, did everyone get the meaning behind the images and what they could have done different.
On both days I left with a wide smile on my face and a light heart. This project feels so rewarding.