Quite literally, NYCHA is helping residents develop their lives—through photographs. Started in 2010, Developing Lives was a pilot program created to help residents capture moments of their lives. New York City Housing Authority, NYCHA pre-teens, teens, and seniors were given cameras, film, and 12 weeks of instruction and then sent out into the world to capture and “develop” their lives.
“The photography classes helped me look at things around me more closely and to arrange people in the photograph more carefully,” said Dorothy Ballard, one NYCHA resident participating in the project last year.
This, year, NYCHA’s Developing Lives program is back and in full swing for the holidays. Workshops are being hosted all over New York City to encourage residents to capture moments in their holiday experiences.
Studio NYCHA’s website offers up a presentation and lesson plan to give residents ideas for how and of what to take photographs. Staging, or arranging subjects in a more aesthetically pleasing way, is shown through several example photographs, some by famous photographers. Residents are also encouraged to play with angles like photographer Gerd Ludwig, who took photographs from an angle that suggested more viewer involvement and highlighted culture and relationships.
Scenes with holiday meals are named as an ideal focus for the photographs, but anything that shows moments of holiday celebration is certainly accepted. Studio NYCHA is hosting follow-up classes and workshops this week and next to give captions to photographs taken over Thanksgiving. There are so many family moments—happy, sad, funny, exuberant, thankful, thoughtful—to be captured, especially at this time of year.