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Kids Photography Book Review

I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Teaching Photography and Writing to Children by Wendy Ewald and Alexandra Lightfoot (Beacon Press, 2001). Adults.

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In I Wanna Take Me a Picture , photographer and educator Wendy Ewald explains her techniques for teaching photography to children. As she tells her story, she teaches photography to the reader, both as an art form and as an educational strategy. Primarily aimed at teachers, it is an excellent primer for anyone interested in photography, or for anyone whose children are interested in photography.

Ewald has taught photography to children in some of the most troubled places in the world, constructing darkrooms in makeshift places and handing out cameras to children who had never seen one before. She created the Literacy through Photography program in Durham, North Carolina, which helps children develop literacy skills by taking pictures and writing about them.

Her take on photography is a deeply personal one that doesn't shy away from difficult experiences children may bring to her classrooms. Many of the children whose photos and writing fill the book live in impoverished circumstances. They photograph and write about their lives with a matter-of-factness and honesty that makes them all the more poignant.

Ewald covers a lot of ground in this book: Elements of photography (framing, point of view, timing, and the use of symbols and details), technical aspects of choosing cameras and film, supplies for setting up a simple darkroom, and projects classroom teachers can do in their classrooms. She lays out some of the assignments she has given her students, explaining the purpose and procedure. Most of these would make excellent projects for any budding photographer.

This is a beautiful and wise book about art and learning. If you would like to find out more about Wendy Ewald's work or the Literacy through Photography project, here are some links.

Literacy through Photography Project: http://cds.aas.duke.edu/ltp
PBS Interview with Wendy Ewald: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/jan-june02/ewald/

I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Buying information




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