52 Faces…Week 40

steve jobs

Joy Yagid, a local photographer from my town has a really great blog.  It is called 52 Faces of 2013.

In her blog, she focuses on one person per week, photographs them “in their element” and writes about how she decides on which photos she uses and how she goes about getting the photos.  This week, I was selected as her “40th Face,” and with her permission I am sharing it here.

52 faces – Week 40 – Claire Gianni Sinclair

This week, I went back to school.

Not my school. Tuscan Elementary.

My child’s old elementary school. We had such a great time there that even though the child has moved on, I still find myself coming back to Tuscan.

I teach enrichment class there- Kids’ Digital Photography class, and I still keep in touch with some of my child’s teachers and some that weren’t. It’s that awesome of a place.

I have been doing this personal project now for 39 weeks. Over the summer, one of the teachers offered herself as a subject. I haven’t photographed a teacher in a classroom before, so, why not!?!

Meet Claire Gianni Sinclair, Kindergarten teacher at Tuscan. There are some cool things to know about Claire. She’s wanted to be a teacher since 4th grade.

How many of us know, for sure, what we want want to be when we’re in 4th grade? And how many of us actually get to follow through on that question. Not all that many.

Some more cool things – she’s helps out – alot, outside of the classroom. PJ drives for kids that may not have PJ’s – yes, there are and sometimes something as small as a new set of PJ’s can make a difference. And then there’s the canned food drive. And then there’s her blog – A Project for Kindness.

And finally, the one really cool thing – as yes the ones mentioned are pretty cool – but this one is cool in a full circle kind of way – the classroom she teaches kindergarten is the same room that she went to kindergarten in.

Freaky cool.

On to the session. (Sorry but can’t call it a shoot.)

A scheduling conflict on my end moved the session from Tues to Friday AM.
Had to photograph before classes so that no kids were in the classroom. Not because of the happy chaos of kindergarteners, but because it would be next year before I could get all the photo releases!

Challenges: poor lighting and a very, very busy (decorated) room. There’s a lot going on under those fabulous fluorescent lights! Shooting RAW with my D600 w/50mm f1.8.

Now why am I constantly using the same gear?
Because I like it. I bought that 50mm in 1988 and used it a few times and then put it away because I became enamoured by the zoom lenses 70-210mm, 18-200mm, etc…I learned on a 50mm, just didn’t like it. Somehow it made it thru 4 moves over about 25 years. Through a switch from film to digital and then from cropped sensor to full frame. Rediscovered it last year when I bought my first full frame camera. Kicking myself and probably over compensating for it’s lack of use over those 25 years…

Here’s Claire. Without kids in the classroom, it becomes a challenge because to show her in her element. So we ad lib and I photograph as she gives me the tour.

I ask – do you sit with the kids at the table?
She does and sits.
So do I – on the floor – since I need to be at eye level.
One of the most easiest ways to move from snapshot to photograph is to change your point of view.
Try it. Stop photographing everything from eye level. Change your POV – go low. Go high. See how it changes the feeling of the image.

It’s casual Friday – so Claire is dressed in jeans and her Team Kindergarten t-shirt.

I’m just following her around as she preps for class.

Kindergarten has come a long way since I was in it. I was just getting into learning colors and numbers…

Day 20 of the school year and we’re moving along!

I love that Claire is ‘teaching’ but the kids think it’s just fun.
As we walk around the room, she’s explaining what she does with the kids and what concepts it teaches them and the fact that it’s presented in a fun way! And how the kids are excited to come to class each day!

So awesome! To instill the love of learning so early! I can’t stress how important it is for the kids to have fun while they learn. My child comes back to visit her old teachers. And gives them hugs!

I can remember only two teachers that were like that in elementary school. That’s out of eight years. Two. It was Sr. Lucy in 1st grade and Mrs. Ghiozzi in 2nd grade. After that, it all went downhill.
The rest of them were meh to just soul crushing awful.

Back to Claire – and Claire is perfect – her face lights up as we go around the room. She’s excited! She’s enthused! She’s teaching them that learning is fun!

But I’m wondering who’s having more fun with this…

Claire introduces reading and spelling to her charges in every way she can. Everything has a label that matches a picture. I wonder if she can come to my office and help me organize…

And what’s more fun that making a mosaic of your own name with colored paper?!?

Whisper phones. Go to Home Depot and give it a shot. Cheaper than your current cell plan.

Find the colored in word.
Works for me.

And if you don’t already know – I have a thing for owls…

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