Monday, October 4, 2010

He loves the color green.

He is a loner. Quiet, with a fierce attitude, he sits stonily in his chair, faced away from me, sending me the message loud and clear that he would rather be anywhere else on the planet than in my class. I admit it, he's overwhelmed me a bit. Scared me even. But intrigued me at the same time. What will get this kid engaged? What's going on in his life?

I started out with my life story, sharing about my father's drug addiction, my fight to rise to the top, putting myself through college, picking up my first camera. Nothing. Hmmm...I continue on. Rise above, you can do it, be strong, express yourself! A call to arms! And nothing. Ok, I think. Maybe this kid isn't the one. Or better yet, maybe I'm not the one for him. Ok.

Moving on, I ask the kids whether they want to look at wedding pictures or more abstract stuff (PS. Abstract for this particular class is defined right now as anything that is unconventional and looks at life from a different angle). "Abstract!" he yells out. Surprised, I immediately agree and jump on the glimmer of interest. I start flipping through and I notice his chair has turned and he's tipping his head so he can see the screen just out of the corner of his eyes. And then Melody picks up her camera to snap a few shots and his hand comes up over his face. The wall is back.

Melody, in all her brilliance, calls him out in the sweetest way possible. "Hey! I see you don't like to get your picture taken. You usually put your hand over your face. I know you don't like getting your picture taken, and you know what, it's totally ok. Don't worry! I don't mind and it's ok you don't like it." And she puts down her camera. And he smiles. "Photography's not really my thing," he says, "But I really love video."

Grab it! Run! I hear in my head. Melody and I both instinctively pounce on this. Affirming his contribution in all its glory, we tell him that videography is just photography of the "new age," and that what he loves is what we do...just in motion. And if he tackles that, he'll far outshine Melody and I in the smarts category, because we're totally clueless about videography, but if he sticks with us on the photography, we'll share all we know to help get him started and ready for what he truly loves.

And we've got him. The door swings open, his face lights up. And he's ours. From that moment on, he leaned towards me, hanging over the computer. He tells me he sees patterns. And light. He finds things the other kids miss. Deep things. Real things. I show him my favorite showpiece from art class last year and ask him if he knows what intimate means. He says "I hear it a lot, because I watch a lot of movies, and I know what it means, but I can't explain it. It means, just two people. It means, personal. Personal, it means, personal. Right?"

What I saw tonight was hope. Promise. Life. Again, I'm overwhelmed. Moved. I am gleaning the class down to a few select kids that really have interest in taking this to the next level. And tonight, I picked my first three boys. Never in a million years did I expect that this kid, who loves the color green, and videography, that he would be one of them. The one. In the most unlikely places...

And since Melody took some awesome pics that I am sure I will get to share later, and I of course, didn't even touch my camera as I was too excited and overwhelmed to even think about shooting (thank God for Melody!!!!), I am going to post some old faves and tell you what the kids saw. And let me tell you what. They would give my classmates a run for their money at my critique tomorrow night...

She's just so beautiful.
Why? How do you know? You can't see the rest of her face, I ask.
The red of her lips. The curves. You know she's beautiful. The picture tells me.
You know, that could be a dude.
(To which I responded, you are right. You just introduced a different perspective into our conversation, which is exactly what every artist is striving to do. Spark conversation about their piece. Well done! And props for standing out and stating a different idea!)

They must be boyfriend and girlfriend. You can tell they like each other.
I see the rusty fence. It looks like they might be hiding somewhere to sneak time together.
The sun is behind them, I like how it makes the rocks look glowy. I can tell by the shadows where the light is.
Could you make her shoes green? I like the color green.
(If you didn't guess....this was the picture we talked about the word intimate, and what it means to take a portrait picture and tell a story without showing somebody's face.)

These are bottles. And you shot them from the top, because you told us sometimes it's neat to look at something from a different place and you liked the shapes from the top of the bottle because you could see the circles and look down into the bottle. I see circles, and rectangles. I love the shapes.
(This was said by the smallest kid in the bunch. He is maybe...7 years old. I showed him a similar picture last week and he remembered word for word what I said. I was stunned.)

You have focused on just the one leaf, and it's sharpened and the rest are made blurry so that it pops out.
I see the star shape! I couldn't see that if all the leaves were in focus. You want me just to see that one leaf and its star shape.
(Some of the other kids giggled when he said it was sharpened. We praised him wholeheartedly for pulling a real photography term into the discussion!)

I could go on forever!!!!!! Keep these kids in your hearts. They are a special bunch!

Oh and ps. I got hugged today. It was glorious to feel loved in that way. To know they were happy to see me.

1 comment:

  1. You said everything I was thinking...right down to the hugs tonight was icebreaking Katy!


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