Tag Archives: photography

Full STEAM Ahead Summer Day Camp

“The best camera is the camera that’s with you.”

Recently, I saw this post in The NY Times about “What Makes a New York City Kid?” In it was a video compilation of kids in different parts of the city who “agreed to document their daily lives” on their smartphones and while I was watching it, it struck me… How sweetly honest and accurate the footage was because they had been given the power to control their own narratives.

I will say this now and forever:

Giving young people agency is important. 

Similarly, here in Harrisburg, Jump Street puts creative tools in the hands of young people in the city through programs like Full STEAM Ahead Summer Day Camp. With the help of local artists in residence, teachers and administrators, student mentors, and volunteers, young students are introduced to a diverse plume of the arts and are able to choose mediums to express themselves.

During the camp this summer, I was asked to teach photography. For a week, we talked about color and composition, history and tools, and made images with Fuji Instax. My heart grew each time I witnessed their joy with the Polaroid-like prints rolling out the tops of the cameras like magic. They made portraits, documented other classes and spaces, and self-published their work by creating zines. The students were tremendously sweet and hilarious, tough and opinionated, super sharp and very determined… but most importantly, through all of the classes, they left with the power to create their own stories.

THANK YOU to Jump Street for having me, the student mentors and my intern, Morgan, for helping me, and the students for obliging me. I hope we can do it all again in 2017!

DFP_7218DFP_7341DFP_7357storyboard021DFP_7329storyboard022DFP_7123storyboard013storyboard014DFP_7149storyboard015DFP_7027storyboard008storyboard009DFP_7045storyboard010storyboard020DFP_7071DFP_7402storyboard019storyboard016DFP_7311

Full STEAM Ahead Summer Day Camp from Dani Fresh on Vimeo.

 

 

Viewpoint in Asbury Park: Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Last summer I was invited to be a photography advisor for a workshop called “Viewpoint” in Asbury Park at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County. The program, organized by Jill Bartlett, was designed to empower young people to express themselves through democratic image creation–using Fuji Instax and disposable cameras! Over the course of five weeks, they were able to explore Asbury Park’s downtown and boardwalk, the Stephen Crane House, and places they chose to represent Asbury Park. I had the opportunity to talk to them about content, color, intention, and create images with them. More importantly though, I listened and learned from them.

DFP_1463

This is Nyasia. We were walking down Cookman Avenue during the workshop, photographing structures and elements that caught our attention while discussing the constantly evolving landscape of Asbury Park’s downtown area. I love the beautiful architecture; historical structures that I believe will always represent this place. She loves how it’s constantly changing; there’s always something new to see. Then, in stride, she said, “I think we need to go take photos on the west side… People talk bad about it because they’re scared of it and they don’t know anything about it, but it’s really cool over there. Everybody knows everybody and people really help each other out.” In that moment, I think my heart looked up at her from my chest. What a poignant statement.

FEAR and the negative action or inaction from it is the substance that fills up and expands the divide in our local and global communities. Because it has festered, it is no longer acceptable to ignore it or to put a proverbial band-aid on it. I challenge you to combat the fear in your own heart and love in a manner that encourages others to do the same.

storyboard010DFP_1398 copystoryboard011storyboard012storyboard013storyboard014storyboard015DFP_1587

DFP_01DFP_02DFP_03DFP_04DFP_05DFP_06DFP_07DFP_08DFP_09DFP_10

I loved this and I can’t wait to do it again.

THANK YOU to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County, Jill, Jan, Larry, and everyone else who had a hand in making this happen. I think the world of you!

DFP_5980storyboard005storyboard006DFP_6012storyboard007DFP_6031storyboard008DFP_6037

Into the New Year with a Full Heart

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times in 2015 I stopped to think, “Holy shit, I can’t believe this is my job…”

I really love New Year’s… I think I love it more the older I get. Not because of the parties or the weird commercial holiday bullshit, but I love reflecting on the year–taking in all the good and bad experiences then pulling inspiration from all of it to carry into the next year. Oh, and I LOVE fireworks. Reflecting, I feel especially lucky. I kinda struggle with that word: lucky. I don’t mean the denotation of lucky, the definition that implies that everything is up to chance, but rather the connotation of feeling fortunate, fulfilled, loved, inspired, and immeasurably thankful. So in that way, yeah, I feel lucky.

Thank you to every last one of you who helped me grow this year, has given me opportunities and work that I was excited about, has helped me find ways to help others through my imagery, traveled with me, put up with me when I was frustrated, told me to take a nap when I was tired, welcomed me, gave me a bed or a couch to sleep on, gave me hugs, encouraged me, made me laugh, loved and inspired me… I am entering the new year with a full heart.

All the best to all of you in 2016. I can’t wait to photograph it.

storyboard014storyboard035storyboard022storyboard011storyboard015storyboard021storyboard019storyboard007storyboard024storyboard023storyboard009storyboard039storyboard038storyboard037storyboard028storyboard016storyboard027storyboard038storyboard036storyboard034storyboard033storyboard031storyboard012storyboard010storyboard013storyboard025storyboard008storyboard002storyboard006storyboard005storyboard001storyboard003storyboard029storyboard026storyboard020storyboard004

 

Jordan, Photography Classes, and Dani Fresh’s Distractions

Not pictured:  My distractions.

A couple months ago, I started to teach small photography classes at the MakeSpace.  It’s opened my eyes to the fact that I really enjoy sharing knowledge and helping other people who are eager to learn photography.  This fall, I’m looking forward to joining Anela (Selkowitz) and Haley (Harned) to teach at Danzante Urban Arts.  I’m a lucky lady to be surrounded by other talented and driven photographers.  I’m also incredibly lucky to have catalysts in Harrisburg that allow me the opportunity to share how tickled I am about making images with others.  So lucky, I’m just ducky!

This is Jordan.  He’s been at almost every class.  He’s attentive and engaged and certainly a patient soul.  He’s helped me focus on creating solid ways to share knowledge and brought me back down to earth when my ADHD kicks in.  Thanks, hot dog.  I appreciate you!  Not to mention, you’re a really swell friend…