Through The Lens Project – Part 2

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Last Autumn I initiated and worked on a photography project, Through the lens, with 16 and 17 years old students with autism at TreeHouse School in North London.

Oscar_Postcard

Photo by Oscar

One of its aim was to bring teenagers new skills: photographing, selecting images, editing them and putting up a show. Another one was to encourage them to use photography as a way of communicating. The project was very successful, resulting in amazing works, reflecting the personality of each participant. The themes, the angles and the framing they chose were all different, rich and interesting.

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Photo by Luke

Following the success of Through The Lens at TreeHouse, I suggested the idea to Ambitious College in Colindale, where learners are young adults with autism. With Jean Cole, Ambitious College curriculum manager, we identified eight of them who’d be keen on engaging with the project.

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Photo by Conor

We decided we’d try to focus with them on community access as it is a very important part of their curriculum. Photographing along the way to their different activities as well as while they were practising them was their task, when of course they were keen on it.

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Photo by Tara

They also took a lot of pictures inside the college, documenting their every-day environment and for some of them shooting stunning portraits: Mary was even directing her “models” asking them to express emotions!

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Photo by Adrian

Using both a professional SLR camera and disposables, they created great works which we exhibited on the 9th of July at the College so parents, learners, staff and visitors could see the astonishing work they produced.

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Photo by Mary

“It’s amazing! You can see the personality of each learner in the photos he or she took”, a carer tells me. Another one adds: “I am so surprised by the quality of the work.

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Photo by Jamie

I wouldn’t be able to take such beautiful shots”. There is one thing she makes me realise: the way the learners take pictures is very spontaneous. They don’t have the barriers we have, thinking: shall I press or not the button, shall I frame like this or like that? Oh no it’s never gonna make a good picture…

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Photo by Robi

They just shoot. And it does show in the result. Their work brings a new and fresh way at looking at things and people.

The next step is to make some TreeHouse students work on video and help them produce their own short film.

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