Thursday, August 18, 2016

180 Days

I enjoy completing long-term photography projects. I work best with a deadline, if I'm left without any structure, I don't get nearly as much done. I suppose that many people have the same issue. Last August, I was looking for another long-term photography project. I didn't want to do another self-portrait project, but I wanted to do something that didn't require me to have to travel anywhere every day, or set up any special equipment. Then, as I was preparing to go back to school, I was struck with the idea of making school into my photography project. The challenge of shooting around school is that, since this was an independent project, I didn't have permission to show the students' faces. I had to get creative. And so, I decided that I could slow down the shutter speed and capture the students in motion blur.  I also bought a wide-aperture lens which allowed me to shoot with a shallow depth of field as well and it had the added benefit of permitting me to take pictures in dark classrooms where there were presentations going on on the screens. Sometimes, I would capture pictures I loved, but couldn't was part of the challenge. I frequently emailed these pictures to the parents of the students if I knew them.

 I wanted the idea of this project to be the daily happenings of school, with a focus on the teachers. As a "veteran", I don't like that term, I have read a lot of bad press about teachers over the years. The public loves to vilify us. Well, the public loves to vilify public figures in general, but the vast majority of stories you see about teachers are negative, or so it seems. Sadly, controversy sells. I also wanted the project to be real. As much as I could legally do it, I wanted to show not only the positive things that occur on a daily basis, but the challenges we sometimes face...crowded halls, copier failures (oh so many), the occasional technology hiccups, graffiti, etc. There was some controversy about this.  Some people were initially upset when I showed these things, saying we didn't need to show the negative parts of school...I was very hurt by this and it made me want to stop.  I hadn't started the project to upset people, I wanted it to be a positive thing.  I decided to reach out to those individuals and explain my purpose to them, and it was okay.  And so it continued.  In full disclosure, I did miss a day or two.  There was the day when I was so tired one morning that I forgot to put the memory card in my camera...and the day I did the same with my battery.  There was the one day where I was so busy teaching and shuffling between class and meetings that I had no time to take a picture. Overall, I ended up with about 1500 photos.  And now...what do I do with them?  As it turns out, they're going to be a show.  

So, here is my appeal.  I can't share the candidates for the show, because, to add an element of surprise to the show, we are keeping them under wraps, but I will share some others here.  I am also asking for help in funding my endeavor to bring this project to others.  I have launched an Indiegogo campaign called 180 Days to help fund the costs of bringing this show to fruition.  

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