Sdrastvuyte (hello)! Did you remember what that means? If so, Atlichna (super)! Thanks (spasseeba) for reading.
Today we went on our first assignment! The start times are getting earlier and our days are getting longer but the students are handling it well. We had a few guys doze off this evening during critique, but all in all it wasn’t too bad.
We started this morning pretty early. Everyone was in class by 8AM and we were on location by 9AM! Two of our groups headed to a local kindergarten and the other two, a parent resource center. I posted up to watch the shenanigans at the kindergarten.
This place was just oozing old soviet era charm. Labyrinthine halls filled with posters and drawings, illustrations and larger than life dioramas. On the walls were paintings of illustrations from old children’s storybooks or posters in the old Soviet propaganda style. Sarah even worked out a deal to buy one from the school: a poster of pastel blues and reds of Yuri Gagarin (the first man in space) with a small newspaper clipping attached at the bottom that simply read Kocmonabt.
In one hallway was a larger-than-life diorama of a scene from a book of fables with 3-meter long snakes, stitched from old bedsheets, climbing trees made from refashioned bunk bed ladders. Small windows dimly lighted the halls and classrooms, and there was an occasion bulb turned on. Still, the classrooms were full of bright colors and energy. In one class, a musician playing the accordion led the class in song; in another, the students painted with watercolors. In one class of little guys, the children build houses out of handmade wooden blocks, while in another they danced in a circle.
Halfway through our field time, the group from the the Parent’s Resource Center joined the first two groups at the school to finish out the morning’s exercises. Fred, Arthur, Sarah, and Kevin wandered the grounds working with individuals or small groups of student photographers offering feedback or guiding them to different perspectives. They offered quick technical reminders to the students, but as the day wore on the conversations shifted to the concepts of storytelling and composition. And while the school was a vast and stimulating environment to work in, the students weren’t too distracted to make technically sound images. These guys are getting it!
There were bright colors and adorable little children running around everywhere. Our students photographed both inside and outside the classroom, capturing not only the spirit and energy of the little children, but also worked in building a visual narrative of education in this school. They worked with the tiny students and then photographed them candidly, watched the little ones play and learn. The groups photographed like crazy, of course, and that meant we would have about one million pictures to look through when we got back to the school!