Teens learn to document their lives through photography
La Casita Cultural Center to exhibit work of students from the Westside Academy at Blodgett
A group of 13 students from the Westside Academy at Blodgett has spent the past four weeks learning to document their lives through photographs and words. They will celebrate their results with an exhibition at La Casita Cultural Center, 109 Otisco St. The opening reception is 3-6 p.m. Friday, March 23, and is free and open to the public.
The teen photography workshops, held at La Casita and sponsored by the Ford Driving Dreams program, are facilitated by award-winning photographer Efren Lopez, whose work “The Photographer as Child: Memories From Guatemala” is currently on exhibit at La Casita. Ford Driving Dreams is a partnership among La Casita, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), La Liga, University College and the Westside Academy at Blodgett, funded by the Ford Motor Fund through a grant to LULAC.
Lopez, assisted by student photographer Isabella Rogmans-Pineda from Onondaga Community College, taught the students the basics of photographic art (framing, composition, depth, color combination), how to develop their photographs and how to curate their exhibition at La Casita.
“Mr. Lopez showed us how to take professional pictures,” says program participant Genesis de Jesus. “It was amazing. I’m proud of myself because I did a good job and everybody who saw my work liked it.”
Although she was helping to facilitate the workshop, Rogmans-Pineda says it was also a learning experience for her. “I enjoyed working with the children and Efren. The experience also helped me to jump ahead with my own photography.”
Born in Guatemala, Lopez is a student in the Military Photojournalism Program in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is also an aerial photographer for the U.S. Air Force and the first reservist to be selected to attend Newhouse’s Military Photojournalism Program.