Making pictures with grace and intelligence, a photography workshop with students from Barrington High School

Traveling with a group of Barrington High School students on a photography field trip to Chicago is a challenge I accept every chance I get.  Barrington High School is one of the last hold outs for teaching film photography, leaving me to wonder if these kids really understand that they are surely the last generation to learn this art.  It appeared they fully appreciated being in a very ecelectic area of Chicago called Bucktown, being with close friends (photography breeds camaraderie) and being with two of the coolest photography teachers to ever walk the earth (Mr. Dionesotes “Mr. D.” and Ms. Hargreaves “H”).

The student’s photographs won’t be ready for weeks, as the craft of film development is deliberate and the most beautiful creations take time.  So, while I’d love to show those to you, I can only show you mine, which were created digitally.  Here they are along with the assignment:

“Remember that no matter how stable or how fleeting your subject matter, it’s the final print that counts, so envision that print when you look through your viewfinder.  Shoot to make a minimum of 35 printable negatives.  Frame with clear intention; respect people and private property; represent your school well; make pictures with grace and intelligence.

You are on a scavenger hunt in that you are required not only to find subject matter in each of the following categories, but also to use it creatively in your arrangements of subject matter within the frames and your awareness of light.”

l.  Slivers of Light

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2. Adjacent structures 100 years apart

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3. People dressed alike

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4. Neighborhood surprises

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And, my favorite, why is Bucktown called Bucktown?  The answer:  At the turn of the century, Bucktown was a farming community and Bucktown takes its name from the goats that roamed its streets at that time.  Here are a couple of pictures of a beautiful fountain in a park, surrounded by heads of goats:

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Statues that Scrape the Sky

1-IMG_5752-002Attending the funeral of one of my favorite aunts, the last of her generation, also provided the opportunity to visit an historic cemetery where generations of my immigrant German family are memorialized.

St. Mary’s Cemetery belongs to Old St. Mary’s Church in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.  Old St Mary’s Church was home to many of Cincinnati’s large German population. Many of Cincinnati’s oldest German families are buried in this cemetery and many of the old stones are written in German.

The statues on these graves scrape the sky but pale in comparison to the stories that my family has passed on about the trials and tribulations of coming to this country and what their life was like.

Here are the photographs …

George Doerr came from Germany, by boat, with his possessions in one handmade wooden chest, his name beautifully inscribed on the front, and it now sits as a centerpiece in my living room.

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Bye Aunt Jeanne

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I suspected that my recent visit to see her would be the final one.  I was right.  The last of a generation of von Goebens passed away today.  I’ve known my Aunt Jeanne since I was a little girl and I just loved her.  She collected antiques and dressed with style.  She was calm, cool and collected.  She had an open door policy.  She always took the high road.

When I visited her in February, in her little apartment in Cincinnati, she had whittled her possessions down to the most important, and she kept quite a collection of family pictures.  They were treasures to her.  We sat in her living room and poured over them, laughing and remembering all the von Goebens whom we have loved.

I used my iphone to take some shots of the old pictures we looked through.  And as of today, these pictures have now become my own treasures.

Bye Aunt Jeanne.  I love you.

Jeanne and her sister, my crazy Aunt Hazel.
Jeanne and her sister, my crazy Aunt Hazel.
Jeanne and my Dad, when he came home from WWII.  Right before he met my Mother.
Jeanne and my Dad, when he came home from WWII. Right before he met my Mother.
Jeanne, my Grandmother, et al.
Jeanne, my Grandmother, et al.
Crazy Aunt Hazel and the mailman she married, Uncle Walt.  Not kidding.
Crazy Aunt Hazel and the mailman she married, Uncle Walt. Not kidding.
Aunt Jeanne, my Dad, Aunt Hazel and Aunt Louise.
Aunt Jeanne, my Dad, Aunt Hazel and Aunt Louise.
They did stuff like this when they got together.
They did stuff like this when they got together.

Jeanne as a beautiful young woman.

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