Yesterday I met with Maureen Schmutzler, a photographic genius. She went from working for a huge company's graphic arts department, to photographing weddings and babies to what she does now---capturing the true spirit of dogs and cats in unique poses and settings.
She summed it up best when she said, "They are not here for very long." Pet owners need to capture their personality and what they contribute to our lives before they leave us, because they leave way too soon.
Take a gander at the photo of the pooch under the Arch (one of my favorites--the picture on the right side)Maureen's blog and photo site and spend some time on her blog. She has a posting that lists the reasons why her life is so good (although there is one lie---she has NO winter "fat" left on her body, which causes me to secretly dislike her a little). Too many times as teachers, we whine about the deficits we see in our students. Stop the grousing! Your class' glasses are half full, not half empty.
Hearing her speak about her craft reminded me that sometimes, just handing a student a digital or a disposable camera drastically shakes things up. There's something about connecting pictures with words that increases the artistic power exponentially...
One summer at our creative writing camp, my friend had a brilliant idea: give the kids disposable cameras, they went in the woods and around the outside of the classroom, and took pictures. They then told a story using the pictures as inspiration. (Almost all of my great ideas were stolen from this friend. It's true; I'm a shameless thief.) It really changed the way they approached their writing process.
So think about it. Think about using photography in some unique way in your classroom. And if you're lucky enough to live in the St. Louis area and have a pet you love, think about booking a session with Maureen---she loves animals and she loves her craft. (And who's a good dog in our house? Annie, who unlike Foley, would not think of getting up on the couch, is a good dog and since she's 14, is the old girl in the house.)