Why Photography? And How?
I am the world’s worst photographer. There are scant photos of any events in my adult life. Even now, when we always have cameras with us in our phones, I rarely think to stop what I’m doing and take a picture of it. Even when I think of it, I often pass up opportunities. So when I say that neither Linda nor I are photographers, I don’t merely mean we are not professional photographers: we aren’t even casual shutterbugs.
Yet, I love photography as a medium. Our house is strewn with books of photography -- Weegie, Joseph Smith, Annie O’Neill (my old neighbor and an amazing photographer). The photography of our great, good friend Sarah Higgins adorns our living room walls (and a few other walls.)
Photography is so many things. It can chronicle a time. It can capture a place. You can see person at a specific moment in their lives, perhaps all the moments of their lives. It can give you a window into the soul in front of the camera. And sometimes it gives you a view of the soul behind the camera.
And for those reasons, I'm always engaged by a great photographer.
Also for those reasons, photography seemed to be a perfect fit of a project. We wanted to do something which would engage young people -- give them new skills and confidence. And also, my perspectives are limited -- I can only see Kliptown through my own lens. But I want to know more about it, what it's like there and what it has been like for years. I need help to see Kliptown as it's residents do.
Professional help was clearly needed to get this project up and running. Who the heck would teach the actual, you know, photography?
After long discussions, we decided to see if Heather Mull might be interested in joining the team. Heather is a fantastic photographer who has been working at her craft for two decades.
Heather and I met many moons ago and she helped me land a writing job at City Paper. Several years after that, we worked on a cover story for CP together. It was then that I got to see her in action. I was impressed by how she talked to people, how she put subjects at ease. I believe her success as a photographer is partially due to her ability to connect with people. That's important to me and I think it is crucial to this particular project.
She is smart and thoughtful. She’s also easy to hang out with, which is important as we’re going to be spending a ton of time together in the next six months. In short, when Heather said yes, things started coming together.
Heather will oversee the entire project, help design the curriculum, guide us through the ins and outs of photography and so on.
Next up was securing Johannesburg or Soweto based photographers to join the project.
Just a reminder: Help us bring cameras and other digital equipment in July.