Photography Panel with Devon Morgan, Chris Miller and Lucia Rojas and collaborative photoshoot

October 27, 2012

Photographers Devon Morgan, Chris Miller and Lucia Rojas joined us to share their work and their experiences as freelance photographers and videographers in the worlds of fashion, documentary and skateboarding.  Then, the Scholars paired off with the photographers and mentors to do a workshop based on photography and youth representation.

Three spectacular photographers and videographers, Devon Morgan, Lucia Rojas
and Chris Miller presented their work.  Devon
Morgan is a freelance photographer that focuses on urban photography such as modeling, fashion and catalog photography. Morgan showed us
most of his photography work as well as the catalog shoots he’s done for very
famous companies. He describes that the process was very hectic but it’s worth
the price if you love the exercise. Lucia Rojas focuses on Documentary
Photography in South  America and the
Amazon to document cultures and ways of life. Lucia opened our eyes to a side
of the world that we did not know. She wanted to be a photographer despite the
fact that her father wanted her to become a lawyer. Chris Miller is a videographer
and has toured places such as South Africa filming for a skateboard group.
Miller showed us how being a photographer can be very helpful in working with
video. He has also conducted and videotaped many community projects. Each had
their inspirational stories to share with us. Lucia Rojas shared a quote with
us by Henri Cartier-Bresson “ It is through living that we discover ourselves
and the world around us.” That quote was very inspirational not only for our everyday lives but the project we did afterwards.
        The workshop following the photography session was
really nice because it tackled some of the major social issues that we
experience in our everyday lives. Discrimination knows no boundaries, no race, religion
or nationality. We shared our personal experiences of times that we faced discrimination
and took pictures based on those experiences. We then made a collage of the
pictures we took to create the time that we felt alone or misjudged. This experience was an eye opener
because it really made us aware that other people around us had faced or is
facing the same situations we are. We got to know each other on a deeper level
and became more open with our experiences. –  Lashun Costor And Daneele Thorpe

After the freelance photography workshop, we did an exercise where we collaborated
with the photographers.  We talked about how photography can be a
reflection and a way of expressing the way things are seen. We talked about how
photos can show different representations of people, and asked how we would
want to be seen ourselves vs. how we are often seen by the public.  We
talked about racial and gender discrimination, stereotypes and how we portray
ourselves. We wrote reflections of how we’d been affected by our own
experiences, and we told our stories and opened up to each other. Then we wrote
about how we actually wanted people to see us as young people and as
individuals. Then we went ahead and started discussing our stories with our smaller groups
and the photographer that was working with us. We tried to think about how we
could work together to portray both of theseexperiences in a photograph.
There are a lot of people that
happen to be perceived in an unfair, stereotypical or discriminatory way.   It affects us in many different ways; it’s
not what we really want to be seen as. It can break us mentally or physically,
but what harm have we done looking the way we want to express ourselves?  “Never judge a book by its cover,” because
inside every book, every mind, there’s something wonderful to look up to and

           “I had people look at me with disgust because
of where I’m from.   What they don’t see
is that it takes more than your race to distinguish what role we actually play.
Those who bring you down are not superior to you. I can present myself as a
well-educated teenage girl, but that doesn’t matter in the real world. People
don’t consume you on how well you present yourself, but how they want to view
you.” (Maria Bravo). “People think I’m into drugs and a problem starter. I try
to pay no mind but they always end up starting to come at me with violence and
saying things I would never want to hear. It feels horrible to be treated like
this. What have I done… is it just because I dress in black? You think I’m a freak?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You fall down, but always stand up in
the end.“  (Amanda Franqui) If I were to
be seen differently” I would love to be seen as a helpful person. Someone that is
generous and picks up the pieces for those in need.” (Michael Ortega) It
doesn’t matter where we come from. Nor what language we speak. We are all human
no matter what. We shouldn’t be criticized for our ethnicity but who we are as
an individual. <3 =) — Amanda Franqui, Maria Bravo, and Michael Ortega