As a photography intern assisting artist-in-residence Bob Campagna, I worked for three weeks with Grant Wood fifth graders to teach them about photography and how they could make excellent photographs. Then we traveled to the Oak Hill Jackson neighborhood to explore and take photographs. I took my own photographs during this time, but instead of focusing on neighborhood businesses and landmarks, I focused on the children. Seeing the neighborhood through their eyes helped me to gain a different perspective on photography, on fifth-graders, and on the neighborhood. I will share in my presentation a number of the photographs – theirs and mine – that resulted from the project.
By no means was this an easy process. Grant applications had to be submitted over a year in advance in order to fund the project and working with the children was often challenging. But the positive outcomes have been many. Oak Hill Jackson is a low-income neighborhood and our project has helped to educate others about the history and people of Oak Hill. The photographs that Bob Campagna, the fifth graders, and I took of the neighborhood have been displayed at the Grant Wood School and Cornell College, and they will soon be displayed at the new African American History Museum in Cedar Rapids. It was also a great experience for me to be able to work along with children of the neighborhood, helping to inspire confidence in their ability and pride in their neighborhood.
Bridgett Chambliss, ’04 Waukegan, IL
Majors: Psychology, Art
Sponsor: Helen Damon-Moore