Today, I was excited to participate in a Career Day at a local middle school, Samuel Ogle Middle School in Bowie, Maryland. Made up of 6th through 8th graders, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I stood up to present, would the kids all give me blank stares? Would they ask me ridiculous questions? Do they give a crap about photography? Would they give me the silent treatment and not ask anything at all?
First, I had to follow up the career day presentation of NBC News4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell. Marvelous.
Then, it was my turn to present to a room of 7th graders.
All my fears vanished as I set up my easels to show some of my photos. I could hear the kids whispering that I must be some sort of artist, because, with easels, I must be a painter, right?
I took out my camera and heard a collective, “Whoa!” because the kids thought it was huge. They all wanted to hold it to feel how heavy it was, and I explained that I work out to prepare myself for long shoots, for squatting and running around.
It was kind of great that they figured I was an artist, because I explained that I am an artist, and what I do requires a lot of artistry, just not in the traditional sense like a painter or a sculptor. Instead, we paint with light and have to be so creative with photography, that when done well, is indeed an art. The kids asked me questions about smiling, locations, shutter speed–yes, they knew about shutter speed!–focal points…the whole nine yards. I was amazed!
I told them about my journalism degree from the University of Maryland, because, at heart, I’m a storyteller. I told them about how I have to coach people to look good, to keep their energy up, and that I tell them what to wear to a shoot. I talked to them about how my camera is just one piece of equipment that I bring to a shoot, that I bring lighting, props, backdrops, and that I take extra photos to teach to other photographers. They admitted that they had no idea so much was involved.
I was so nervous at first, but now, I can’t wait to do it again! Thank you to mom Jasmine Smith for the opportunity! Until next time,