The Greyfriars Art Space is a small gallery in King's Lynn that offers space to artists and photographers to stage exhibitions, run workshops etc. I am on their mailing list and it is my intention one day (at L6) to hold an exhibition there of my work. A recent email from them spoke of an exhibition of work by a small group of photographers aged 13 -19 that would be different so on Friday evening (6th) I went along to have a look. I was met at the door by Phil Barrington who kindly provided me with a glass of wine and a quick resume of what had gone on to get the work onto the walls. Norfolk County Council had asked Phil to run a summer workshops on photography and after initially saying no he ran with the idea providing there was no teaching of a "technical" nature. With limited time together the group needed to work more on concepts and editing than knowing anything about shutter speed, DOF etc. Also they were all using different devices for capture from iphones, tablets and a few cameras of various specifications.
With the studio space having three areas he asked them to work on three themes. Firstly "Fear", secondly an "Emotion" and lastly to provide an image that represents their world, their private space.This would be difficult enough at any level but here we have an age group from 13 to 19 years old with previous experience not known. Phil was only acting as a mentor and not a tutor so the thinking, shooting and final edit was their decision, with help in framing and getting prints made the only technical help of any significance.
As with any exhibition it lifts the work when hung in a gallery and the quality of the execution was stunning. People at this age have none of the preconceived ideas I have and were making images of maturity well above their age group. I have no way at the moment of showing any examples although if I can I will go back and take a few photographs. Edit: Photo added "Left Alone" by Maddy Wicks, her interpretation of "Fear"
The issue here though is how a professional photographer did the right thing by ignoring technical jargon, F stops and the like and just let them make photographs and how they interpreted the single word briefs in such a diverse way and produced narrative in the work that needed no further explanation.
I came away with two distinct thoughts. Firstly how proud we can be with teenagers who take time to be interesting and secondly how I ought to be so much better at photography than them but I am not.
With age you become secure and know your place in society, their youth gives them the ability to not be constrained by society and gives them the gift of freedom in thought. Good luck to them.