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Image by B.Kubinski, Yr.11 at Malet Lambert Highschool, 2022

Image by B.Davis, Yr.11 at Malet Lambert Highschool, 2022

Image by I.Riley, 2022

Enthusing Young Minds - Phase 3

Conversing Through Photography

Phase 3 of Enthusing Young Minds introduces the Young Aspiring Artists (YAA) to research. The brief was developed to encourage the YAA look at photographers, artists or events that interest them. Based on their research, they were asked to write a brief for me, Chris G Smith to fulfil. 

With the realisation that I, the project director, was becoming the student and they were becoming the teachers, sparked their interest, They were suddenly faced with a position of responsibility in this context, quite possibly for the first time ever.

Their research could be about anything they liked the first brief being delivered to me by Jack Doyle (aged 9). He'd done research on Hull Fair which was in town at the time. He surprised me with some of the facts that I previously did not know and in doing that Jack had immediately succeeded in this phase. Jack had asked me to photograph my favourite ride, thing (attraction) or memory of the fair.

Other briefs soon followed; some were loose which allowed me to interpret how I liked while others were more rigid and requesting specific styles. The production of images specific to each YAA was exhilarating. Although they weren't producing images themselves at this point, it gave a view into how they think and what interests them. This kind of information would be particularly useful to parents who struggle to connect with their kids as they progress into adolescence or school teachers who wish to engage with the youngsters by using subjects of interest to start a conversation.

Conversation; the next step in phase 3. Once the YAA were provided with the images that fulfilled their briefs, they were invited to respond to the images with images of their own. The majority chose this option and responded to me which began to form The Photographic Conversation.

This Phase caught the attention of the Head of Art at a local secondary school who was very keen to have her Year 11 GCSE class take part. But there was a catch; with 24 pupils in the class and only a week to complete all the briefs they'd sent, I was in dire need of some help. The oldest of the YAA I'd been working with up to this point was Megan who is also studying photography for her A-Levels. I offered her the opportunity to assist with this task which would provide her with a valuable experience and transferable skills.

Between the pair of us, we completed the briefs, ensuring each pupil received an image from us. They were then provided with disposable film cameras from the school to use during their half term break to respond to the images that we'd created for them. 

We finally got to meet the class to discuss their images during the final day of the Enthusing Young Minds Exhibition in Hull City Centre. The pupils had responded well to the task and it was a real pleasure to see the engagement. For many of them, it was their first time using an analogue camera with the concept of not being able to immediately, see their images being completely alien to them. The comments made by many of them was that they were excited to see the images they'd taken while they waited for their images to be developed. One of the many life skills that this project aims to instil into our next generation of potential photographers.

The work produced was now needed to be displayed in a way that would do it justice. Because we already had three zines, we felt it would be repetitive to do this again. After a conversation with the participants, we decided to produce a newspaper. We looked through our local newspapers for inspiration on layouts, titles and how images and text can compliment each other...or indeed how the text can change the meaning of an image.


But why a newspaper? Newspapers were the first mass publication to use photography to illustrate their stories from c1890 initiating conversations. Although during this latest phase, we deviated from just using analogue techniques (due to time constraints) we decided that this kept with the feel of Enthusing Young Minds, with a tribute to the early days of photography while still producing a printed body of work that the YAA could keep and add to their own portfolios.

Order your copy of the Newspaper


Let’s Collaborate...

If you have any ideas about a collaboration, please do send me a message.

Do you have an exhibition space? Would you like to exhibit this work?

I am also looking for funding in order to keep this project running for as long as possible; donations of funds, equipment, film, paper or chemistry would be highly appreciated.

Thanks for submitting!

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