Saturday, April 18, 2015

Street Photography with Middle-Schoolers

Yesterday I helped lead a group of eighth-graders on a street photography walk in East London. We started in the classroom, with me showing a series of my own photos and talking about why I think they work -- the light, the color, the composition. Then we all hopped on the tube -- about 30 of us, including three other teachers -- and headed for Shoreditch.

We put together this outing because many kids were absent Friday on trips for their foreign language classes. Those who weren't needed something to do.

We went to Spitalfields Market first. I think the kids were really into it. (Some of them enjoyed the opportunity to concurrently go shopping!)

Then we had lunch and walked over to Brick Lane, where we spent another hour and a half wandering. We let the kids go out in groups of three without a chaperone hovering over them, and they liked having that freedom. (I also liked the freedom of being able to wander on my own.)

I tried to emphasize the importance of watching for details, and finding the odd, quirky and humorous. I think this sticker is someone's comment on the increasing gentrification of that neighborhood. (And holy cow, has it changed! It is so different from even just a few years ago, with new apartment blocks and trendy shops.)

When we got back to the classroom, we uploaded our photos to a common web site where we can look them all over. I'm going to give some feedback to each kid. Some of them got amazingly good shots! And as usual at the conclusion of a field trip, I am merely thankful everyone returned in one piece.

(Photos: These are all mine, not by students. Top, third and bottom, Brick Lane. Second, Spitalfields Market.)


  1. I love those photos.

    I wish we'd had such great outings at school. We were never expected to show any creativity. I would have loved your lesson!

  2. I think developing an eye for photography has real value. Especially at an age (and in an era) where everyone is so glued to their phone that they don't see the street light pole in front of them.
    The red house at Spitilfields is lovely in its ruined beauty.

  3. The top hats. Love.
    And having chaperoned a few field trips in my day I can concur- if everyone comes home in one piece, it was a most successful day!

  4. That sounds like such a great way to spend the day. (Wandering around and taking photos is one of my favourite activities.)

  5. My first thought in the last photo that the building was empty but perhaps not.

  6. Sounds like fun, and I wish my eighth grader were in your group! You have definitely helped me to "hone my eye," as it were -- I think of you often as I drive and walk around Los Angeles and always see things that I know you'd like! I love the photo of the hats!