'Story Camp' Unites Photography and Storytelling in Red Hook

By Nikhita Venugopal on July 26, 2013 9:51am 

RED HOOK — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how do you tell a story with one?

A photographer and an elementary school teacher are coming together to create “Story Camp,” a visual storytelling summer workshop in Red Hook.

Story Camp will bridge the gap between telling a story with words and photography as the instructors help students find literary features — like character, plot or conflict — within a photograph, said Paul Shirk, 28, a first-grade teacher at the School at Columbia University and one of the camp’s leaders.

“People are using photographs all the time to narrative their lives,” said camp co-founder and photographer Kamau Ware, 38, referring to posting photos on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

The week-long camp, held at 183 Lorraine St. for five hours a day from July 29 to Aug. 2, is priced at $250 but students can also attend a “drop-in evening Story Camp” at $30 a day or $50 for two days, where Shirk and Ware will conduct a mini-version of their workshop.

Story Camp will follow four main tenets — explore, learn, create and share — as Ware and Shirk lead students through different examples of visual storytelling, teach them about writing and photography and give them space to create their own story through photographs.

Photos are “three-dimensional artifacts,” said Ware, whose wife, Lesley, led an "eco-style" fashion camp in Red Hook this summer. “I want to look at photographs as a way to convey stories.”

Students will be equipped with digital SLR cameras for the camp so Ware can teach the basics of manual photography.

Students will also do some writing to understand how words can bolster the photo series, said Shirk.

Story Camp is also an “intergenerational” workshop, welcoming all participants age 8 and up to join.

Through the camp, Ware and Shirk hope to teach students to “create and tell stories rather than just consume them,” said Shirk.

“They’ll literally be making art.”

For more information on the camp, email storycamp@kamaustudios.com or visit this website.

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