Photography Course in Vicenza, Italy
In July 2015 I was asked out of the blue whether I would like to run a photography course in Italy. Erm, let me think about that for a moment... Of course I jumped at the chance.
It was a 2 week long language summer camp for 15-19 year olds at a school in Vicenza. Luckily the students' English was a million times better than my Italian!
The summer camp had set lessons in the morning and then a choice of different subjects for the afternoons, everything from art and drama to yoga and cooking.
I didn't realise at first quite what I was letting myself in for and to be honest I was ready to come home after the first lesson!
You see I am used to teaching mainly adults and people that already have a really strong passion for photography, but this was a bit different, I had to really work hard to inspire them. But I had a few ideas and luckily I managed to keep them onside.
The theme for the summer camp was 'My Health, My Environment' and this is what we had to work with for our 2 week long photography project. After discussing some ideas and ways we could use photography to represent these themes we actually headed out around the city of Vicenza taking photographs, with the occassional stop off for gelato!
It wasn't long before I started to see real potential and great photos from a lot of the students and suddenly I felt much more comfortable with the course.
I always had in my mind that it might be good to get the students to create a photobook of their projects because at the end of the 2 week camp there was going to be an exhibition and I thought photobooks would work really well. It was suggested that perhaps presenting the projects online would be a good way to do things but I really wanted them to create something tangible, something physical.
When we were ready we used a computer lab and I asked the students to create the pages of their books by using multiple images on indivudual pages. I then arranged to have these A3 files printed as pages of their books.
The next step was to use these pages and some thick card for covers to create a Japanese Bookbound photobook. I wasn't disappointed, we saw some great projects and best of all the students were genuinely proud of what they had achieved. Certainly job satisfaction for me.
Parents and the press were invited to the exhibition and everything went really well and lots of people enjoyed looking at the photobooks, as well as the other exhibitions and performances.
All in all it was a brilliant experience and one that I was able to learn a lot from too. Kids are sponges for information and if you can just reach them, inspire them and get them excited about the work, then they will reward you with great results.