today: Camp Discover children signing posters at the reception for the children participating in the Camp Discover photography exhibition at Stirlings Coffee Shop, Sewanee.
Haylee Guyear: the most interesting rock, Camp Discover Photography Project, Summer, 2013
Healthy social structures rely on communication and shared narratives, which in turn depend on literacy. In other words, literacy, and all related processes, foster resilient communities. For this collaborative project, we construe literacy in broad terms, and include the visual and photographic, as well as discussions and writing that grows from the visual.
There is considerable evidence that photography can be used as a therapeutic and educational tool, and when considered in the broadest understanding of literacy, can build community and resilience. More specifically, the combination of visual thinking and literacy, and discussion and writing around and about photographs, establishes positive modes of social and expressive behavior. When introduced and sustained over time, these modes not only become habitual, but have a tendency, just because of the intrinsic, fascinating relationship between photography and story-telling, to have a ripple effect that invites others into the conversation.
The Discover Together Collaborative—Directed by Professors Karen Yu (Sewanee) and Linda Mayes (Yale), and a developing partnership among the Yale Child Study Center, Scholastic, Sewanee: The University of the South, and Grundy County TN school representatives, early childhood leaders, pediatricians, and community members—is committed to this goal. Discover Together’s vision for change harnesses the enormous potential and energy that comes from engaging and empowering individuals with innovative visions for their communities, and the collaborative energy that such visions can promote.
During the first year of Camp Discover, children were introduced to the idea of telling stories through photographs. A generous donation of funds for cameras allowed us to develop and expand this theme in Camp Discover’s second year. During the second year, I was fortunate enough to participate, and working with Anthropology student Chandler Sowden, and assisted by Kyle King, (an English major), ran a workshop across the two-week Camp Discover program. The content was designed to use photography as a way of learning and speaking about one’s immediate community, and to impact a sense of place in the broader community.
With slide shows, the group looked at example photographs, and discovered why photography is magical: It freezes time and you can take the moment with you forever; Pictures can help us tell stories; Pictures can help us remember; Pictures can help us share stories. The group of children was introduced to some fundamental photographic and visual practices and reflected, sometimes by writing, on how shapes can look like things, places that say where we are, and textures that make us feel. Together all of these help tell our stories. They help us remember. They give us something to share.
Come and see the results of this project in the first ever installation of Photographs by the Children of Camp Discover, 2013, now on show at Stirlings Coffee Shop, Georgia Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37375. – just a few days left – the shpow ends on March 12, 2014.