I wrote last time about the youth center, Le Cameleon, we crowdfunded and built in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and the project we organized to introduce a half dozen interested kids to photography, using point-and-shoot film cameras from the 1980s and 90s.
I was excited and hopeful the kids would wind up with good results, because I didn’t want them to be discouraged by their first try. We had spent a fair amount of time explaining how light enters the camera and affects the chemistry on the film, on framing, and use of light. All of the cameras we had given them were slightly different, with different features and capabilities, but we avoided showing them things like the timer function and complicated flash settings (other than off/on). We put the (color) film in the cameras for them and suggested themes, like “animals” or “buildings”, or “portraits” and sent them off until the following week.
But kids are curious and clever when it comes to figuring out how things work. One of the kids complained that someone else had opened her camera and exposed the film. As it turns out, he had also opened his own camera, and he wasn’t alone in this. But this ended up being instructive, as we were able to show them what happens when there is a light leak. We also learned that you can’t get too close to your subject, or your camera can’t focus properly. A couple of the girls figured out how to use the timer function to take selfies, but they didn’t figure out how to aim the camera correctly and ended up taking pictures of their chest and lower jaw. So this first roll was a great learning opportunity, and all of the kids were able to find a few photos they were pleased with.
And so here are some of those photos they were pleased with from that first roll:
At the end of the session, we gave them all a roll of black and white film. We wanted to wait until they saw their results before they tried again. You can see those results here.