Photo Camp Philly exceeded my expectations as a first timer. As an NG staffer, you hear about Photo Camps, see various blog posts, and occasionally meet someone who has volunteered for one of the camps. From all of this information, gleaned by reading and hearing about the Photo Camps, I knew it would be an unforgettable experience. And it was! It was everything I expected; kids came, kids learned, kids left. However, it was so much more than that.
I met and learned about people from different places and from different backgrounds. I was able to sit with a teenager and show them, hands on, how light changes as you move. I was able to show them how capturing these moments can elicit a smile out of a stranger, or perhaps teach the world about the photographer’s space, their environment. So many times, we enter into a situation and hope to reach just one person in a small yet significant way. Whether it be inspiration or instilling self- confidence in a person, or even just making them smile, maybe we are teaching them something they will use for the rest of their life. Maybe we are teaching them something they will use for only one day. Whichever it is, the expectation and the hope is that someone in that class will take something positive away from their experience.
What I didn’t expect was to receive something from them. Even for the brief amount of time spent with these kids, you can see their potential. You learn their interests. You feel their passion. Their passion for learning, grasping, growing. The fascination with the frame, recording events and making a difference. And the pride in showing their peers and especially their families their work. They showed me that if you work hard and listen and learn, you progress. Even in a matter of hours. Seeing their passion and hunger struck a chord with me — they gave me that spark, that passion, that inspiration we all need every so often.
So thank you to Photo Camp and the Philly group for an amazing experience and a fantastic group of kids I will never forget.
– Stacy Gold / National Geographic Archives