TS Eliot was wrong. Februrary, not April, is “the cruelest month.” At least for me. Yes, the days are getting longer. Yes, the temperature ocassionally soars into the high 20s. But it is often in the heart of February that what I think is SAAD (seasonal affective disorder) hits me. And I lose my will to post new photos to this blog.
So I’m posting old stuff. . . But, in the event that you haven’t meticulously looked at all four years of my posts, you’ve probably never seen some of these. So maybe they’re not old.
I taught at Watertown Senior high school for several decades and I can tell you that it’s amazing how quickly the halls fill with students at 3:31, when the final class is done. It’s also amazing how quickly the school gets quiet as students end their day and head for home.
Incidentally, I would call this an editorial photo and it was part of a series for the WHS yearbook a few years ago.
Here’s a candid photo I took as Deb and I strolled around in Bruges, Belgium.
In the school I teach at, Saturday School was a form of punishment to students who had misbehaved. But at KIPP Minnesota, where my son Brian teaches, things are different. Once and a while, if the 9 hour weekdays in school aren’t enough, they work on Saturday.
It’s not about punishment; it’s about excellence. What a concept . . . .
For the last several years, in addition to teaching at Watertown High School, I have also volunteered to take photos for our yearbook. Sometimes the editors tell me what to photograph. And sometimes I’m told to “wander.” And that’s how I found this subject.
The art rooms are my favorite places because I can almost always find people doing things rather than sitting and listening to teachers. Often the students are so absorbed in their work, that they are oblivious to me. But this girl was anything but oblivious.
When I was about to take the photo, this girl gave me this look, which isn’t exactly hostile and not exactly friendly. It is suspicious. After taking this photo, I told her who I was and what I was up to and she relaxed and let me take a another photo or two.
This photo didn’t make the yearbook but I like it nevertheless, largely because of her undisguised doubt. But I also like it because I think this girl looks a little like Scarlett Johansson, one of my favorite actresses.
Oddly, I was reminded of the famous Rembrandt painting, “The Anatomy Lesson,” when I was processing this photo. It was taken at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, California and it shows an art class pondering a work by Picasso.
I keep finding interesting photos from our visit to the Japanese pre-school Brian taught at the year he lived in Japan. Here the kids were lined up for another play/learning opportunity. I have no idea what had caught the attention of the beautiful girl who is the subject of this photo. I think the girl in front of her is the subject of this photo: “Another Japanese School Girl” (click).
Canon 1D II 1/100s f/2.8 ISO640 135mm
I thought I would post one or two more from our son Brian’s experience in Japan, in this case a bunch of kids and Brian getting ready for a group portrait. I love looking at candid photos of groups – there is so much to look at.
One of the things that struck me about the Japanese pre-school we visited was the degree to which “play” was part of the learning process. I think you would find this in most pre-schools. In most societies, though, once “real” education starts, we start to discourage play. That’s too bad because I think that playing with things is how we learn and create.
The Google corporation understands this and that’s why they have what is called “Twenty Percent Time.” Google engineers get to spend 20% of their time working on things that aren’t necessarily part of their job description. The get to play, experiment and tinker. What a great idea!
We spent a few hours in a Japanese pre-school when we visited my son Brian in Japan a few years ago. I found this when I was looking for something that I might be able to post in the “Look At Me” series. I love this photo because it just “happened.” There was no staging or coaching involved. I stopped and she looked up at me with a curiosity I saw everywhere in the children in this school. Of course her beautiful big, dark eyes help make this photo.