Photo Storytelling at Venture

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By Artist Mentor Bethel Gessesse

This past spring, I had the privilege of teaching photography at Venture Academy, a public charter school serving students grades 6-11 in Minneapolis. Over the thirteen week course, I was blessed to connect with, teach, and learn from the students there. One highlight was on Earth Day, when we took photos to highlight things we could do to better care for the environment — like turning off light switches, and picking up trash around the school. 


My favorite activity was when we looked at different photography books and analyzed photos we admired, and recreate our own versions of them. One week, we had a guest visitor from a landscape architect seeking the students input on a community garden under construction a few blocks away from Venture Academy. We spent the hour taking pictures around the site and later shared them for the project.


The students who were interested in Photoshop and the image editing process had the chance to explore the application at different times throughout the semester. On the last day, everyone contributed to a collage on Photoshop, which had a touch of their favorite selfies, memes, and anime characters. 


This was my first time working in a school, and I had an incredible experience — communing with such a creative and vibrant group, and getting to know the students through the images they created.

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