The final list of participants for the project is confirmed and it seems of little consequence that it consists of four girls and twenty boys. True, I have spent more time at the boys’ home and they know me better, but with a boy-girl ratio of 5:1 and with participants having an average age of 14, something has to be said of the significant traits that sex has carved into the demographics of the project. Not to mention that the boys are generally showing a much greater enthusiasm; the girls are going to take some working on.

Last week the sessions consisted of two main activities. The first involved looking at and discussing photos from a variety of magazines. The boys wanted to draw their favourite photographs. Samuel chose a photograph of a sad clown, saying it reminded him of all the sadness that can be inside of someone who on the outside is always happy, and proceeded to spend the next hour creating a replication of the clown’s face. By the end of their

Samuel's drawing of his favourite Sad Clown photo

second session the boys had come up with a brain-storm crammed with ideas of what to them makes a good photograph:

  • La tolerancia
  • La paciencia
  • Belleza (Beauty)
  • Sentimiento (Feeling)
  • Espacio y distancia (Space and distance)
  • La libertad de la emoción (the freedom of emotion)
  • Pensamos en la energía [de la foto] (Thinking about the energy [in the photo])
  • Abren portales para inspirar a las personas (Opening doors to inspire people)
  • El amor con las personas y sus culturas (Love for people and their cultures)
  • Expresar la felicidad, el paso del tiempo y capturar momentos rápidos (Expressing happiness, the passing of time and capturing fleeting moments).

What struck me most of all was the sincerity with which they wrote down these points; afterwards I was all too happy to hand them each a disposable camera. I’m looking forward to next week’s results.

The second activity involved experimenting with shape and colour. For this I found that the random, useless junk sold on nearly every street corner in Mexico City actually has its purposes. I built an installation in the middle of the room, balancing stacked chairs, plants, vases, balloons, and finally throwing a plethora of unnameable items into the mixture. The idea was that the participants experiment with taking abstract photos from close up, so that we can no longer recognise what we’re looking at. This took some getting used to – the initial photos brought to me were of the entire installation. Gradually, the idea of playing with colour and shape began to take effect and here I present to you a few of the outcomes and a short video of the session filmed by one of the boys.

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