This photo is just one of the dozens of remarkable images created by the residents of Magill Youth Training Centre in September.
Photographer and tutor Jeremy Watson said the images, produced after only a few hours of tuition and practice, were as good as those produced by some of his other students over many days and weeks.
‘We started out by getting the young people to pick out a couple of photos from a collection I brought and asking them to say why they had picked them and how they made them feel.
‘From the start the interest and enthusiasm were great.’
Very soon the discussion progressed to the genres of portraiture, landscape and close- up and then onto mastering the controls of the digital cameras newly purchased for the project.
‘After shooting we brought all the kids back and they had the chance to look at and evaluate their work on the monitor.’
In the words of some of the young people involved:
Taking pictures, it was fun.
I learnt how to hold steady the camera and how to use macro.
It’s not always about a front on photo, you can take them in all different ways.
It felt like we had freedom and fun with the photos.
I learnt how you can find good photos anywhere.
Program Coordinator at Magill, Julie Wright, said that it was great to be able to introduce a new activity for the residents and one which was so interesting and accessible to all of them.
‘Everything went off without a hitch, and since we bought the cameras staff are finding other ways to use them as part of unit activity and to document events.’
At the end of Child Protection Week, a photo exhibition of prints of selected pictures was staged for all residents, some staff and guests from the Office of the Guardian.
Viewers were very impressed by the originality and technical quality of the images produced by the young photographers while the residents were enthusiastic.
‘Now that it has gone so well’, says Julie, ‘we’ll be trying to organise more photography activities in the future and we are already looking for opportunities for some residents who’ve shown a real interest to continue their photography when they leave juvenile detention..’
View the Magill residents pictures collage in PDF.