The fourth annual Kids With Cameras program came to a close last Wednesday evening with a photo exhibit featuring the participant’s best photos.
The annual Human Relations Council Santa Monica Bay sponsored summer project was a six-week workshop in photojournalism that took 20 middle school kids recruited from Police Activities League, Boys and Girls Club, and Santa Monica Family YMCA.
Samuel Tello, a PAL employee who worked with the kids during the summer project said this year’s theme, “People and Places of Santa Monica,” was a hit.
“Santa Monica has amazing people, so it works perfectly,” Tello said. “The most important thing for me would be that they had fun, and they can pick up a camera and create some memories with it.”
PAL participant Taneia Bryant, 12, said her favorite place to shoot photos was the pier.
She said she enjoyed being able to go on the rides while also applying what they were learning about photography when taking photos.
“I learned how to do angles and make sure it’s not blurry, and have fun!” Bryant said.
For participant Diana Ramirez, the program helped build her technique as well as fuel a passion for photography.
“I actually want to be a photographer when I grow up,” Ramirez said. “It helped me to take my pictures at a better angle and to know a little bit more about it, to get good scenery for the picture of what I want to take, to zoom in, or anything else I need to do.”
Human Relations Board Chair professor Jody Priselac said the theme helped facilitate the program’s goals of helping the participants gain a better understanding of their community.
“I think when you’re a photographer it opens your eyes to things you don’t usually see,” Priselac said.
“So with this theme of faces and places, it’s really about looking at your community, knowing who you are, and what you’re a part of. And I think that’s so important, for kids to feel a part of something. I really believe that’s the beginning of understanding. And that to me is what respect is all about. If we want our kids to be a part of creating a respectful society for us in the future they have to start doing that.”
At Wednesday’s event, each participant was presented with a certificate and a book with all of their photos.
Photographer mentor Fabian Lewkowicz said he hoped the kids would better understand their natural abilities after completing the program.
“I want them to know that they can create art, very impressive art, and that they have a talent,” Lewkowicz said. “(This program) hopefully inspired them to keep shooting and keep documenting the world.”