Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekly Post October 30

This week was important because I did intense research about one’s rights as a photographer.  Although the people in the tent community had verbally agreed to have their picture taken, I felt hesitant to put the pictures on my blog without written consent.  I spent over two hours researching the rights of individuals in having their picture taken; I looked at examples of release forms.  I spent another hour writing up and editing my own release form:

I spent about an hour coming up with a plan for December Review.  After looking at my calendar, I realized there are really only six weeks left until the presentation- and one of those weeks is Thanksgiving, meaning we really only have 5 weeks before end of semester.

I also had a great meeting today with Chelsea, the Coordinator of SOS.  I sat down with her for an hour and talked about the access I would need for my “ideal” project.  I communicated about how I would love to tell stories of families that are homeless, but I need access to families in the SOS shelter.  I discussed how I would give SOS all of the multi-media stories I create so that they could use this to present at auctions and other various events to raise money.  She was  very positive and completely on board with my idea; she is going to support me and try to work with the case manager to find families who will participate.  We are planning on putting together a schedule of times to work together to reach out to various families.

For another hour Chelsea gave me a tour of the SOS Crisis center, where they provide food, counseling, and other support.  Here are some photos of the Crisis Center I took today:

I also spent another two hours at a meeting at the tent community.  It was a night meeting where the board speaks to the campers and they both settle various issues.  Tonight’s discussion centered on if the campers would move to a new location if the police asked them to vacate the premises.  The group voted they would stay and not move to a new spot, and fight for their right to be at that location.  One of the board members of the tent community introduced me to all of the campers tonight.  I introduced myself and said I wanted to raise awareness for Camp Take Notice; they gave me a round of applause!  All of the campers are very smart; one homeless camper took me aside and asked if I had appropriate release forms before I take the pictures, which I told her I did.  

I took some photos tonight at the meeting, which took place in the large, communal tent.  The light was a challenge because they only had one small lantern for a light source in the crowded tent:

The photos of people were interesting; but in this case I think the most interesting of the photos are the ones I took from a distance, when the camp members were inside discussing the meeting and I was outside.  I tried to capture people's shadows, especially because the lantern created an interesting fluorescent blue light: 

This week I learned the importance of doing my research on protecting rights.  I am glad I went through with a release form.  The two people I photographed at the tent community were more than happy to sign it tonight.  Now that I have consent, I feel confident and will edit down the photos and post some of the pictures of the campers in later posts.

For SOS, Chelsea recommended I create a "mission statement" to send out to the families so they get an understanding of what I am trying to accomplish.  This is a great idea; I am going to create a mission statement of less than six concise sentences.  

Tomorrow I am going to meet with the Executive Director of Alpha House.  I look forward in meeting Julie and taking the next steps.  

Next week I am also going to return to the tent community and interview/record Jay's story.  I find his story very interesting and powerful.  I would love to share it with everyone. 


  1. Meg,

    You are making really good progress in all aspects of your research and process, including the range and depth of community interactions. You are learning so much right now-- it’s wonderful to be along for the ride.

    The consent form and the mission statement are important tools for setting out clear expectations and establishing rapport and trust--that’s important you have those in motion.

    I’ll be interested to talk with you some more about the audio aspect of the project. I can see how challenging it is to communicate the full dimension of these personal stories solely through photography. I can well imagine ways that combining photography and sound could be a potent form here, and understand why you’ve been attracted to this combination. Let’s talk soon about how to get the audio part of your exploration under way. (You’ll probably need to amend your consent form to include audio.)

    Just keep going!


  2. Meg,
    This is such a powerful blog. It is something that our society has to deal with today and it is a scary topic. You did a really nice job on the interviews and the pictures are amazing. This should make everyone think how lucky they are to have what they have...
    great job!