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Reflecting on Wide Angle Youth Media

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Alexandria Hemphill, a Loyola University undergraduate, interned at Wide Angle Youth Media in the summer of 2014 to assist with Communications and our Traveling Photography Workshops. Here, she looks back on her experience.

My first day at Wide Angle Youth Media: I walked down the hall and into the office, a spacious area that bustled with talented teens working at computers. Students and administrators in the room greeted me with a warm welcome. I was blown away by the skills that the kids exhibited and their incredible technique with film. Twitter, Facebook, and the blog-site became second nature to me as I posted every day. At first, events in Baltimore seemed like nothing new to me: I had seen pretty much all of Baltimore, but it was not until my time at Wide Angle that I really began to explore the city. A couple of weeks into the internship, I teamed up with Moira, Meggie, and Emelia, another WAYM intern. The four of us set up tripods, projectors and cameras at the Herring Run Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library. With their cameras in hand, each student was excited to walk around the community to tell their own story through photography. In a local steel mill that we found, metalworkers blazed through thick hunks of steel with powerful lasers almost too bright to capture on camera.

My second workshop was at the Reisterstown Road Branch. My group and I discovered all kinds of interesting places in the plaza. From bakeries where customers spoke Hebrew to colorful nail salons and markets, Reisterstown Road was so visually dynamic. That same day, we all got to experience life on set at a local production company, Blue Rock Productions. When we walked in we were greeted by a sign made just for us that read “Welcome Wide Angle Youth Photography Workshop!”. The studio had filmed plenty of Baltimore heroes in the past including Michael Phelps and Haloti Ngata. A high-tech digital movie camera sat in the middle of the room: we all felt like were in a movie as the camera captured our every move. The kids asked plenty of questions and their enthusiasm was palpable as they explored the set, snapping pictures in front of the large backdrop.

Last but not least was our trip to Govans, a scenic Baltimore neighborhood where we connected with nature through photography. Classically styled houses lined the streets and we all eventually met at a peaceful pond at the end of the block. Students took in the beautiful sights of plants and flowers that we encountered. Just as we had done in previous workshops, we were able to capture the beauty of Baltimore both behind the lens and with our own eyes.

Before I thought I had seen pretty much all there was to see in Baltimore, but photography allows you to take something familiar and turn it into something extraordinary and new. A subject can be more than it appears and to truly appreciate the beauty around you, sometimes you have to look at it through a Wide Angle.