Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Their Eyes Have It

Some time ago I wrote about taking a part-time teaching job at a charter school in North Scottsdale. I blogged a couple of times about this great opportunity — and then went silent. Let me explain why.

At first I was very excited and proud to guide young minds in a way they had never been guided. I enjoy kids and I firmly believe that each of us must plant a tree we will never sit under.

By the third week I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into. One third of the class had rallied against me and was working to take over the class. I don't want to get into the negative aspects of this experience but let me just say that the class size has decreased by 30% and the students who remain are smart, eager and talented. (Click here to see their work.)

Over these several months we've had great and very passionate discussions on copyright, legal issues (if a police officer orders you to stop photographing, do you have to?) and ethical matters regarding privacy. You see it's easy to take pretty pictures, but in some cases, you need to know when, where and if you can take those pretty pictures. Photography is a powerful means of expression and therefore a constitutional right. My students are responsible and well informed.

Their work excites me. I am going to miss them. Sadly, I have one week left in this teaching gig. I've found it to be incredibly rewarding as I've seen some wonderful kids become amazing, young photographers. They tell me that they look at pictures differently now. Not only can they take good pictures, but they can discuss the merits of a photograph and tell you why the image is good or bad.

I've enjoyed teaching. It has taught me what I really know about photography. The best part is that I've been able to influence a group of teens who have the beginnings of wonderful vision.

If you didn't click it up above, here is a link so that you can view what they've done. Take a peek and leave some comments to let them know how you feel about their work. To me, they are photographic rockstars.


  1. Some really wonderful images in here. Very interesting textures and shapes and colors. Lots of creativity, too. GREAT WORK!!!

  2. Cool photos Toni. My favorites are (in no order)
    1. The lipstick. It's a photo that could have a lot of different stories.
    2. The gumdrops. Great colors. I like the vignetting around the edges.
    3. Sunlight reflecting on the water. It's very warm and has a really nice balance to it.
    4. Rusty Outlet. Great texture and color. Nice job finding beauty in the ordinary and old. Beautiful.

    Looks like you are doing a great job teaching them Toni,
    Pat Shannahan

  3. Great stuff. I really liked the photo with the egg yolk and the leaf. Super creative.

  4. Cool pics. Quite impressive. Really inspiring! My favorites (in no particular order) are:

    1. Gum Drops
    2. Egg Leaf
    3. Rusty Hole in Outlet Pipe