A new class introduced to Chaminade’s course catalogue this spring has been capturing the hearts of its students.
Com 380, Photography in Education, is a unique course that combines photography and service learning. Through the class, students are able to help the children realize the talent they possess.
The two month-long class, which ran in January and February, was focused on a program called Kids’ Pics, the brainchild of professional photographer Minako “Mina” Kent, and her husband, Chaminade lecturer Rusty Kent.
The dream for Kids’ Pics began when Mina was writing her thesis on how kids think visually. According to Mina, the younger children took more honest and sincere photographs.
After recognizing the growing number of homeless and near-homeless children on Oahu, Mina realized an opportunity many of Hawaii’s keiki were missing out on.
Her first inspiration came from Angel, a fifth-grade student from Waikiki Elementary School.
“Angel never had an opportunity to take pictures,” said Mina.
After giving Angel a Polaroid camera, she returned 10 minutes later with her first photograph.
“The photo had strong lines, great composition — it was just perfect all around. I was blown away,” she said.
Kids’ Pics, which was launched two years ago, consists of underprivileged children aged 7 to 13 who have lived or are living at Maili Land, a transitional housing complex in Waianae. The housing units are managed and operated by Catholic Charities Hawaii.
The strongest Kids’ Pics pictures are then sold, with all proceeds going to the Lei Fund (www.leifund.org). While still in its early phase, the Lei Fund is intended to be a scholarship program with a mission to help Hawaii’s underprivileged youth pursue a higher education.
The first three weeks of instruction for Com 380 were used to teach the Chaminade students how to take visually strong photographs. The following weeks were spent working with Rusty and Mina’s Kids’ Pics class.
Chaminade students taught the Maili youths about the different aspects of photography. Each Saturday in February, Chaminade students were paired with a youth from Maili Land. The students then went on cultural field trips, including to the Hawaii State Art Museum, and visited a local Hawaiian artist, Bozo Pualoa.
Tanya, 13, is a veteran of the program. She has been taking the Kids’ Pics class for two years, and has sold many of her pictures to benefit the Lei Fund.
“[Kids’ Pics] is really fun. I’m having a great time,” she said. “If I could tell Rusty and Mina one thing it would be, ‘Thank you so much for everything, not just for teaching me photography, but for helping me realize my own talent.’ ”
To view the photographs of COM 380 students and Kids' Pics artist please click on the link below: www.leifund.org/photos/index.html