Nothing but a pencil

Over the last couple of days I have been running a photography workshop for the Ideas Foundation at a school in south London. The Ideas Foundation exists to bring access to the creative industries (a growth sector that is a predominantly white, male, middle class preserve) to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

We have been learning about de Bono and creative thinking. We have looked at all sorts of different careers that exist within the photographic sector specifically. We have looked at different photographs and questioned why they work (or don’t). But most importantly we have had fun.

In amongst all this the pupils were furnished with basic (think really basic and then multiply by a factor of 10!) cameras and sent out around the pretty large school grounds with a brief to take just two photographs. Their response? “Just two???!! With that rubbish camera???!!?? Why?”

I explained to them that it is the quality of their thinking and curiosity, not the quality of their camera which will yield great results – I then recounted the famous story of Picture Post sending Bert Hardy out with a Box Brownie, and his fabulous result.

To begin with they were too blinkered by their own linear thinking, until one of them, a diminutive fifteen year boy, Wesley, decided to look at his pencil differently. They all saw it, and the floodgate of ideas was breached. Methinks that boy will go far!

Wesley – aged 15 – decided to look at things a little differently. Love a bit of creative thinking. Photo: © Wesley/Ideas Foundation

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