Stacey Hatfield works as a Senior Photographer at Net-a-Porter in London and has been interested in the Snap Foundation teaching programmes for a while. Finally, this year in June, she was able to join us and embark on a life-changing trip to South Africa to work with young children in some of the townships’ schools. The experience brings rewards, new skills, self belief and strong emotions for both the volunteer teachers and our pupils. Here’s an excerpt from her Snap diary;
From the outset, it was wonderful to put cameras in these children’s hands and experience the incredible enthusiasm they have for learning about photography.
They were so excited; so keen to start photographing their surroundings and to take fellow pupils’ portraits in the school. But the most exciting moments for them by far were the jumping shots.
Working on perspective within photography, we got the kids running and jumping high in front of the camera to make it appear as if they were jumping up to a height that even Icarus would be proud of. The children loved the challenge and kept practicing over and over again until they got the shot right. This got lots of laughs and giggles…
In fact, every lesson was filled with laughs and giggles, funny portraits, dancing, trick photographs, story-telling, insights into their lives – but also insights into my life for them, all through photographs. And selfies, they love selfies, the craze has certainly spread to Africa.
On my last day, we attended the school assembly. It was a brilliant experience to watch the children all lined up in their uniforms, listening to the principle, Ms January, imparting her wise words. The sun was just coming up and the light was beautiful.
Before we knew it, it was time for us to hand out the certificates to Grade 6 and 7… both Remy [Snap founder] and I handed out certificates and orange Snap hats to our pupils. It was sweet to see them all so very excited but also a little shy about being recognised in front of the whole school. The entire school then proceeded to sing together, all in harmony, which was wonderful to hear – just as it was to see so many of them dancing away! Experiencing this kind of thing certainty makes your heart warm.
Soon enough, it was time for us to say goodbye to everyone at the school. A sad goodbye, although we all knew it wouldn’t be too long before we’d be back in SA teaching again. In the meantime, I will miss the energy, love and excitement that the kids gave us everyday.