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Melrose Leadership Performance Expo

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The Melrose Leadership Academy after school program students presented the 2016 Winter Performance Expo on January 20, 2016. I believe that I have photographed each performance expo since my daughter started MLA in 2009. If I am correct, this is my 13th.

A baker’s dozen

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The 2016 photo gallery can be accessed here. I have also included the Spring 2015 Performance Expo gallery.

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I enjoy watching our younger students prepare for their first assemblies. I enjoy watching them grow into confident performers.

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I also cherish seeing older students. Some of these older students I have been photographing since they were in pre-school. I wish our school system would create standardized tests that measured collaboration and presentation abilities. Our students would exceed expectations.

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Technology has changed since I first started photographing MLA students… and the marketing of photography products reminds us that “everything has changed about photography.”

But it hasn’t. Kids are still kids.

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And adults teach children how to find their place on the stage. Technology does not replace authenticity.

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Students learn how to perform and play from adults. Everyone works together. If there is a magical ingredient that makes all this possible, it is not something new.

 

A Reunion with a Mother and Child

This is my last post for 2015. I have included some words and images from my December 2015 photo shoot with Christine and her daughter.  I took all the good photos and gathered them into an entire photo gallery from our time in Point Richmond, California. (I know they never match my sweet imagination, but the images are still pretty good.) I also considered beginning this post with another Oscar Wilde quote, as I did for last year’s post, but “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”

 (bryan farley)I have added notes on a blog about my last four blog posts. I include the notes, because sometimes “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word I am saying.” (or I wildly steal quotes and I want to credit the author) You can read those notes at my More Than Kids site after you  read last year’s blog post about photographing Christine on Christmas Day in Clayton, California. It was so good, I published a book… and then photographed the photography book. Here are the Clayton photographs.

 (bryan farley)When I photograph two people who love each other this much, my lack of photography education hasn’t hurt me much. Even I can read the writing on the wall.

 (bryan farley)We met in the little town of Point Richmond. It’s near Richmond, but smaller and older. We visited a local coffee shop. It is called Kaleidoscope. Perhaps it was inside the coffee shop where I started singing, “everything looks worse in black and white.”

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We took pictures in front of theater…

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and on the sidewalk with the bunny.

 (bryan farley)We drove to the Rosie the Riveter Museum, but we were stopped by a train. So we stopped and photographed in the median…..

 (bryan farley)We learned about Rosie and the local heroes.

 (bryan farley)We saw two wild turkeys and a statue eagle. Christine’s daughter told a funny joke about the turkey crossing the road. (No, not the second turkey; the first one.)

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and in cases there was any doubt that I love to take photographs (and quote songs, writers and movies), I included the last photo.

Thank you Christine, Ava and everyone I photographed this year.

NOTE: on 1/3/16 I edited this post. I added a link to www.morethankids.com and added a quote or two.

Classy Senior

Last week I photographed my friend’s daughter Haylie. Haylie is a high school senior. I was a high school senior when her mother Kimberley started 9th grade. We had met several years earlier when we were just kids, but we did not become friends until high school. Even then, I could have been a better friend.

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I have always considered myself a good friend, but I had a selective short term memory. After I graduated, I stayed in touch with Kimberley for a few years, but then I became busy with … I don’t know. Kimberley started a family and I went in another direction. All the time I thought that I was being a good friend.

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Eventually I married and had my first child. Shortly after my daughter was born, I received a phone call that changed my life. Then, as Tim McGraw sings, “I became a friend a friend would like to have,” but not before suffering. Seven years ago today marks the day that changed Kim’s life and redirected our friendship. Now Kim is one of my best friends.

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It is strange looking at the photos that Haylie took of me. How can I remember high school conversations with Haylie’s mother and look this old? Why wasn’t I kinder when I was younger? (or yesterday?) I wish humility were easier to learn, because tragedy is a tough teacher. But the lessons can be sweet.

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I photographed Haylie the afternoon before Thanksgiving. I felt that I was receiving a gift. She seemed young and grown up, which is how I felt when I was 17. It is how I feel now at 47. She will probably remember taking these photos for much of her life, and hopefully the memories will be positive.

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I will remember the afternoon until my memory fades. First, Haylie is Kimberley’s daughter and Kim is one of my best friends. That almost makes Haylie a relative. Secondly, she is a great person. Third, she is a joy to photograph. I like photographing most people, but Haylie is special. She sparkles.

Here are some of the photos from our afternoon. Here is the slideshow version.