Ibali Photography Collective: Week 8
Friday, October 13th: Back to the grind this week on the Ibali Photo Collective. The students are back in school, so there was greater attendance and excitement to get back on track with the project. Now in the second half of the project, it is time to start thinking more about the NGO photography projects the students will be working on. The students were encouraged to brainstorm on specific NGO’s they may like to work with or a cause that speaks to them.
– Text by Juliana Connors, images by Fernanda Hurtado Ortiz
Guest Speaker of the Week
This Friday’s session hosted a guest speaker, Nicky Newman. Appropriately, Nicky uses her photography work to support and give voice to cause she believes in. Nicky explains that she “uses photographs as a platform for social dialogue.”
Nicky began her presentation with a little background about herself and how she came into photography and displaying a broad representation of her work. She spoke to the students about using photography for storytelling, taking something ordinary and making it unique.
Social Issues and Storytelling
From there, the lecture delved further into her work within a social context. The students were shown a body of Nicky’s work from protests for causes she believed in; the Right to Know Protests, Occupy Wallstreet, March Against Monsanto and Marikana protests to name a few! It was a powerful, real display of human spirits behind these demonstrations. This presentation demonstrated how photos can tell varied messages and becomes part of a conversation.
Nicky then spoke to the students about how to accomplish what she could make look easy in her photography. With their own NGO project coming up, the students were apprehensive about how to walk into an unknown situation and tell a story.
“Everytime I pick up my camera, I ask myself, what is the story?”
What began as a lecture, turned into a discussion, engaging the students and working through some of their apprehensions. Nicky asked the students for an example of an NGO, or cause they may want to work with. Courtney offered an animal shelter. Nicky broke down her train of thought on how she might approach photographing within an animal shelter. What is your level of comfortability with the subject? What is the story you may like to tell? Answering these questions prior to the photo shoot, may help to streamline the focus during the shoot.
Lastly, Nicky offered some tips on photographing in an unfamiliar environment, something the students had concerns about. How can they make their subjects comfortable being photographed by a stranger. Nicky could make it sound easy, as she clearly has a knack for what she does! Like anything, it takes practice, but Nicky offered the students encouragement and guidance. “Complimenting your subject always helps and fidgeting with your settings it can also ease tensions,” Nicky advised.
All in all, the lecture was pertinent to the work the students will be getting involved with in the coming weeks. Nicky brought a lot of enthusiasm about photography in general, but particularly in using photography as a voice for one’s social conscience.
Photos by Nicky Newman