Note: all content from youth is unedited.
The importance of having our story told is an important part of our day to day life . We do this by talking with our friends and family, blogging, posting on our Facebook walls or tweeting, having dinner parties, writing editorials, creating news programs, creating art, or wrting in a journal. How much we share with the world depends on our relationship with the people around us and the world we are exposed to. Our environment gives us the ability to share our experiences in different ways. This project, focusing on youth voice and experience, shows the experience of young people across Maine using photography as a platform to talk about what their days are like.
The origin of the program came as an idea to create a photography scavenger hunt that youth would find using their cameras. Youth were asked to to identify concrete objects and abstract concepts and take photos of these them. After the first iteration, the staff at YMM developed a curriculum for telling stories, composing photographs, and talking about the experience of young people in the community.
The theme of the project presented was “A Day in the Life”, asking young people to take a disposable camera and think about what they want to tell the world about some of the ways in which they experience life day to day.
Accompanying the photos were several writing prompts including a letter where young people identified a challenge in their life and wrote a letter to someone in a similar position to help them through these challenges. Some young people decided to write a letter to their past selves giving them advice and words of wisdom to aide them in their struggles.
Prompts were given in relation to what it means to tell a story as well as what youth experience is like in modern times. Youth wrote about these aspects of their lives to share with readers.
This publication is a convergence of their words, images, and identities to give focus to some of the experiences young people around the state have from day to day.
inspiration: a day in the life
The inspiration of this project grew out of the desire for young people to tell their stories in an artistic medium. After choosing photography as the vehicle, the 2010 film, “Life in a Day” was brought up as a grounds for theme.
On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the world uploaded videos of their lives to YouTube to take part in Life in a Day, a historic cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on earth.
Directed by Oscar winner Kevin MacDonald, Life in a Day wowed audiences at the Sundance, Berlin and SXSW film festivals and during its YouTube world premiere in January. This summer, you’ll be able to watch the movie in a theater near you.
youth prompt: a day in the life
If someone were a fly on the wall in your life, what would they see? Using the photography tips and some of the inspiration from our discussion on storytelling; take a series of photos that tells your story. This can be as literal (waking up, brushing teeth, going to class) or abstract (maybe the way you see your life in a day has to do with the objects you see, the people, or some other aspect). Take some time to brainstorm ideas before you start taking photos. What is it that you want to tell others about who you are and what a day is like for you? This does not have to be a typical day either, maybe it is a day you remember having as a child or a day you hope to have in the future. Be creative and think through what you want to before snapping your first shots!
the love letter project
“The Love Letter Project” – Consider the greatest challenge you’ve overcome in your life and write a love letter to help a stranger overcome that same challenge. Personal stories can make a powerful difference in the lives of others. You can write a love letter to anyone, for example someone being bullied at school. This project isn’t about writing wa romantic letter, rather, it asks you to share something difficult you’ve overcome and write a letter to those struggling with the same challenge. What would you write your “love letter” about? What would you say? To see examples check out theloveletterproject.ca.