Posted on: July 18th, 2012
From pre-K to 8th grade a child experiences many new things during a school day. Parents can't practically witness even a tiny fraction of these days which gave rise to the idea of engaging a full-time documentary photographer to fill in the blanks with memorable photos. Spreading costs across as many as 800 students makes it very affordable, around $1/day per child. I will bring more than 20 years experience as a photojournalist, and more than $20,000 of professional equipment to make images cell phones and pocket cameras can’t.
Instead of a couple of quick snapshots on a field trip there will be dozens, made by someone who isn't preoccupied with keeping the kids safe and focused (though I will keep an eye out for trouble too). Parents can relax and enjoy performances without watching it on a smart phone screen while they try to photograph it.
I am on the look out for a school on the West Side of Manhattan, public or private, so if this sounds interesting let's talk. There are different levels of complexity to help everyone get hooked. If more than one school is interested I can bring on additional photographers. If you'd like your school to consider the project I can provide the username and password to review my work from PS191, PS199, and Success Academy Upper West. Privacy concerns prevent me from showing photos of the children without this control at this time.
My intention is to make these photos for the parents, and working with the Parent Association to support their fund raising for needed school resources. A steady flow of photos as content for a parents only website will engage more of them and raise awareness of the great things happening at school.
In the most comprehensive approach, to be on site five days a week will cost around $175/child. It can be paid in stages. Parents will be able to order prints (at cost), download photos, and I can also advise the PA on how to build and run a more interesting website than Shutterfly offers.
My main focus is on unobtrusively documenting events, and producing images that will help the kids remember more of their school days in the future. This can include portraits, but it isn't my intention to compete with the commercial portrait services used by schools. I'm not set up to do it all in one day and still provide the level of quality I want to offer, but if you're tired on the same old mug shots I'm game to do it differently. The parents would still be able to order print sets, but they would also be able to choose from more than a handful of photos. And as the kids get more familiar with me documenting their experiences they will be more relaxed for portrait sessions their character has a chance to shine. I've been refining a style of photography that after several years will result in a final image showing how they have grown during these years.
At the end of the year I will likely have made more than 100,000 images, and will compile grade and/or class specific yearbook designs that parents can order at cost.
I can also work with the parents to become better photographers, and the students to teach photography, book design, and publishing. Tapping into my network of photojournalist colleagues can further enhance the educational potential.
© 2020 Photos by GE.