Saturday, October 27, 2012

Photography Panel with Devon Morgan, Chris Miller and Lucia Rojas and collaborative photoshoot

October 27, 2012

Photographers Devon Morgan, Chris Miller and Lucia Rojas joined us to share their work and their experiences as freelance photographers and videographers in the worlds of fashion, documentary and skateboarding.  Then, the Scholars paired off with the photographers and mentors to do a workshop based on photography and youth representation.

Three spectacular photographers and videographers, Devon Morgan, Lucia Rojas and Chris Miller presented their work.  Devon Morgan is a freelance photographer that focuses on urban photography such as modeling, fashion and catalog photography. Morgan showed us most of his photography work as well as the catalog shoots he’s done for very famous companies. He describes that the process was very hectic but it’s worth the price if you love the exercise. Lucia Rojas focuses on Documentary Photography in South  America and the Amazon to document cultures and ways of life. Lucia opened our eyes to a side of the world that we did not know. She wanted to be a photographer despite the fact that her father wanted her to become a lawyer. Chris Miller is a videographer and has toured places such as South Africa filming for a skateboard group. Miller showed us how being a photographer can be very helpful in working with video. He has also conducted and videotaped many community projects. Each had their inspirational stories to share with us. Lucia Rojas shared a quote with us by Henri Cartier-Bresson “ It is through living that we discover ourselves and the world around us.” That quote was very inspirational not only for our everyday lives but the project we did afterwards.
        The workshop following the photography session was really nice because it tackled some of the major social issues that we experience in our everyday lives. Discrimination knows no boundaries, no race, religion or nationality. We shared our personal experiences of times that we faced discrimination and took pictures based on those experiences. We then made a collage of the pictures we took to create the time that we felt alone or misjudged. This experience was an eye opener because it really made us aware that other people around us had faced or is facing the same situations we are. We got to know each other on a deeper level and became more open with our experiences. –  Lashun Costor And Daneele Thorpe

After the freelance photography workshop, we did an exercise where we collaborated with the photographers.  We talked about how photography can be a reflection and a way of expressing the way things are seen. We talked about how photos can show different representations of people, and asked how we would want to be seen ourselves vs. how we are often seen by the public.  We talked about racial and gender discrimination, stereotypes and how we portray ourselves. We wrote reflections of how we’d been affected by our own experiences, and we told our stories and opened up to each other. Then we wrote about how we actually wanted people to see us as young people and as individuals. Then we went ahead and started discussing our stories with our smaller groups and the photographer that was working with us. We tried to think about how we could work together to portray both of theseexperiences in a photograph.
There are a lot of people that happen to be perceived in an unfair, stereotypical or discriminatory way.   It affects us in many different ways; it’s not what we really want to be seen as. It can break us mentally or physically, but what harm have we done looking the way we want to express ourselves?  “Never judge a book by its cover,” because inside every book, every mind, there’s something wonderful to look up to and cherish.
           “I had people look at me with disgust because of where I’m from.   What they don’t see is that it takes more than your race to distinguish what role we actually play. Those who bring you down are not superior to you. I can present myself as a well-educated teenage girl, but that doesn’t matter in the real world. People don’t consume you on how well you present yourself, but how they want to view you.” (Maria Bravo). “People think I’m into drugs and a problem starter. I try to pay no mind but they always end up starting to come at me with violence and saying things I would never want to hear. It feels horrible to be treated like this. What have I done... is it just because I dress in black? You think I’m a freak? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You fall down, but always stand up in the end.“  (Amanda Franqui) If I were to be seen differently” I would love to be seen as a helpful person. Someone that is generous and picks up the pieces for those in need.” (Michael Ortega) It doesn’t matter where we come from. Nor what language we speak. We are all human no matter what. We shouldn’t be criticized for our ethnicity but who we are as an individual. <3 =) -- Amanda Franqui, Maria Bravo, and Michael Ortega

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