By Gorge Gallardo | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the of summer 2011 The Arc of St. Johns, a service provider to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, partnered with Flagler College’s Photography Club to begin a program called, “Through our own eyes.” Mary Williamson, Director of The Arc of St. Johns in St. Augustine selected 12 individuals to begin a photography learning experience after seeing a documentary film called Shooting Beauty.
At first Williamson was a bit apprehensive working with college students for two reasons. One reason was, “because students are very busy with their studies,” then continued to say how fearful she was about the direction it would take if it wasn’t taken seriously. Secondly, “my fear was whether or not they [Flagler students] would be able to work well with our students.” But after a few short weeks, Williamson felt very confident to say, “they took my fears.”
In a years period the photo club will be teaching photography to help them create their own unique perspective images. To this day both groups have gone on many adventures throughout St. Augustine such as The Flagler College campus, Fort Mose, Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine Beach and Lightner Museum. Since early Fall 2011 the program has been running very smooth and Williamson feels confident about the learning outcomes of each of her students as well as the photographs they are producing.
Hilary Gaughan, 26, mentioned that before the program she had never used a camera and now enjoys taking photos of wild life and landscapes. Tommy Carey, 55, enjoys taking portrait photos, landscapes and most of all trees. As for Judy Pence, 60, she loves to take pictures of the American Flag as it sways in the wind and macro photos of flowers. The program is giving each individual the chance to travel around St. Augustine and develop their love in the art of photography.
With the help of professional photographers from the photo club Williams plans to select six to eight high quality photographs from each individual to be exhibited in either local galleries or in the Gallery Rotunda at the Florida State Capital in Tallahassee.
Both video and photos have been taken by Gorge Gallardo who is one of the members of Flagler College’s Photography club and a volunteer helping the group from The Arc of St. Johns.