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Kingsmead Eyes Speak By Gideon Mendel

Parents' workshop

Picture of the parents

Framing the world

A unique element of the Kingsmead Eyes Speak project was the engagement with a group of parents, who attended 2 workshops at the school. Participants were introduced to the use and care of the cameras in much the same way as the children were. Besides practical camera skills, the focus of these workshops was on exploring ideas around the concept of the frame and what is placed inside and outside the photographic frame. The highpoint of the process was when the group created frames within which two of the participants babies were placed to be photographed. Joelle Taylor, Kingsmead School’s poet in residence then used the final selection of photographs as inspiration for a poem, written in response to the Parent’s Workshop photographs.

Kingsmead Eyes Speak

They say the camera
Can capture souls
Can photograph dreams, whispers, memories and words
Our position in the world
Framed and hung from a thousand floral living rooms walls.

Our faces slowly develop
Rise to the surface of the page
The street, the classroom, the tower block
We are of every culture and age

We are negatives reversed
We are poems without verse
Beauty un-rehearsed
A single pixel that contains the universe

We frame our hearts
Our tongues
Our countries
Our ancestral songs
And our ancestors
Look down on us
Whisper our names
Dust down their clothes, smile
Step quietly from their frames

You see
Some of the best photographs are empty
We enter frames so we may break free
Define our own identity

Our eyes are focussing lenses
Our ideas are camera flashes
Our mouths are slowly opening shutters
Our tongues are strips of drying negatives as they flutter
Our bones are high angled tripods fixed in pose
Our souls are undeveloped films, light exposed

Our skin
Is the paper we are printed on
We do not take pictures:
We give them.

1m 18s

Listen to Joelle recite her poem