Digital images and poetry were used by the youth participants from Brookview Middle School to reflect their own views and personal stories. The theme of their efforts was Urban Landscapes: The View From Here. The digital images and poetry have been published in a book which will create a legacy of work by the youth.
The youth learned many aspects of the art of digital imagery and gained life skills and training that could begin their education in becoming the digital photographers and graphic designers of tomorrow. The program also provided the participants with positive reinforcement through their community's recognition of their work, building self-esteem and self-awareness.
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"One of the greatest things art can teach us, is how to look at our neighbourhoods and ourselves in new ways," said Mayor David Miller. "Urban Landscapes has given us those new eyes to look at our community in exciting, honest and unique ways. The skills these young people have gained through the project will serve them well in the years to come."
Below are reflections and comments from some of the students who took part in the project:
"I really enjoyed being in this project. I feel that through this experience, I can now speak about my opinions on life and society at another level."
"Taking the pictures and learning how to use the software was a great experience."
"The beauty of art lies within you, you just need to bring it out. It's your perspective that no one can take away from you."
"Working with everyone was a great experience. My favourite part was changing up our photos and taking the pictures."
"We learned a lot about society and its problems in this program."
"Capturing the soul and beauty of something so plain looking and creating a whole new perspective was incredible!"
"Hmm. In my opinion, the best part was working with cameras and editing our pictures."
"It was the best thing ever!"
"I really enjoyed learning how to edit pictures and finding out new techniques that I could use to make my pictures look different from the way I had taken it."
"A picture keeps the moment alive."
"I know and believe that pictures can really express the way a person feels."
"Being part of an exhibit is fun because I never though I would ever be part of one."
"The photography project was a great opportunity and it was loads of fun. I got to look at the world in a new perspective and it was beautiful!"
"I learned so many things. I feel good about my community! Thanks to everyone and The City of Toronto for letting us have this opportunity."
Urban Landscapes: The View From Here was a venture between the Toronto Culture and Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation divisions and the Toronto District School Board, in support of Toronto 's Community Safety Plan - Neighbourhood Action Plan for the Jane-Finch community.
The digital imagery project supports Toronto City Council's key priority of strengthening the city's at-risk neighbourhoods and is one of many cultural programs offered by Toronto Culture in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood.