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Photo: Jamie Smith, License: N/A, Created: 2017:05:06 10:17:50

Photo: Jamie Smith, License: N/A, Created: 2016:06:09 18:33:59

A training program in Wyoming is offering photography classes to high school students at beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels. The program, Social Fabric Collective, has been teaching photography one step at a time, through a new generation’s eye. 

Social Fabric Collective is a nonprofit organization that provides professional photography classes to high school students. Jamie Smith, 41, of Wyoming, founder of the curriculum, teaches the 14-week class that offers plenty of camera equipment, creative projects, and field trips.

The goal of the program for Smith, is to “help the students grow and help them figure out who they are and self-transformation and have an impact on the community.” Classes started in spring 2016, making it two years since the first launch of the program. In the beginning, Social Fabric Collective was only supported by Jamie and his wife, Jennie Smith, offering camera equipment from lighting, lenses, and tripods — almost everything a photographer would need to get started. 

Most student take part in the program for free, thanks to scholarships.

The cost of the course depends on the family’s income. If a household makes less than $35,000 per year, tuition is free. For students from families making $75,000 per year, the fee is $250. Families making more than $75,000 pay $500. About 90 percent of the students are on a full scholarship, according to the collective’s website. 

Beginning a program can take some time to get started. Building up enough money and having a dream is all one needs to make that vision come true. 

“I didn’t have a sense that this is going to work, this was more of an experiment ‘let’s explore,’” said Smith.

Classes are once a week. They tend to be small and short but are intense with 10 students per a class learning photography from lectures, guest speakers, and conversing about what photography means to the kids. Students have a passion to learn and are eager to get behind the camera. 

“I joined the program because I wanted to learn how to use a professional DSLR camera. I’m a big fan of photography and I wanted to explore how to take pictures of my own, taking care of settings such as aperture and shutter speed,” said Abigail Ortega, Columbia. 

Students are assigned weekly projects, from photographing low light, movements, portraits, and landscape photos. Smith usually does his best to offer field trips once a week as well to students who wish to participate. Past field trips included visiting Stadium Goods, a shoe store in New York City, and seeing the Pittsburg Penguins play. 

Social Fabric Collective has also worked with other programs in the past such as The Association for the Blind, now called Northeast Sight Services, and with David Katz, of Through My Lenses, a legally blind photographer, to raise awareness of the visually impaired. 

“I did a Facetime talk to a group of his students after they saw my film, it was very productive, and they were great group to share my story with,” said Katz.

Student, Raina Long, 17, Hunlock Creek, is also visually impaired, but still manages to photograph her pets, friends, and Nintendo figures. 

“I went into the program wanting to learn how to make my photos look professional. Jamie taught me that you don’t really need the professional look to take a good photo or to tell a story in a photo,” said Long. “I’d recommend it to people interested in photography or art in general. It’s very fun going on the trips and meeting new people. So, if anything they’ll make new friends and get to go to cool places.”

Social Fabric Collective has had more than 30 students since it began, each with a story to tell with their pictures. 

“I didn’t know my way around a camera, but Jamie helped a lot and then once I learned I found this whole side of me I didn’t know and it’s a great feeling,” said, Abril Castillo, 17, Wilkes-Barre. 

A new class will begin in the spring. For information, contact Social Fabric Collective at 570-613-2222 or by email at info@socialfabriccollective.org  or visit www.SocialFabricCollective.org.

A training program in Wyoming is offering photography classes to high school students at beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels. The program, Social Fabric Collective, has been teaching photography one step at a time, through a new generation’s eye. 

Social Fabric Collective is a nonprofit organization that provides professional photography classes to high school students. Jamie Smith, 41, of Wyoming, founder of the curriculum, teaches the 14-week class that offers plenty of camera equipment, creative projects and field trips.

The goal of the program for Smith is to “help the students grow and help them figure out who they are and self-transformation and have an impact on the community.” Classes started in spring 2016, making it two years since the first launch of the program. In the beginning, Social Fabric Collective was only supported by Jamie and his wife, Jennie Smith, offering camera equipment from lighting, lenses and tripods — almost everything a photographer would need to get started. 

Most student take part in the program for free, thanks to scholarships.

The cost of the course depends on the family’s income. If a household makes less than $35,000 per year, tuition is free. For students from families making $75,000 per year, the fee is $250. Families making more than $75,000 pay $500. About 90 percent of the students are on a full scholarship, according to the collective’s website. 

Beginning a program can take some time to get started, but building up enough money and having a dream is all one needs to make that vision come true, Smith said. 

“I didn’t have a sense that this is going to work, this was more of an experiment ‘let’s explore,’” said Smith.

Classes are once a week. They tend to be small and short but are intense with 10 students per a class learning photography from lectures, guest speakers and conversations about what photography means to the kids. Students have a passion to learn and are eager to get behind the camera. 

“I joined the program because I wanted to learn how to use a professional DSLR camera,” said Abigail Ortega, of Columbia. “I’m a big fan of photography and I wanted to explore how to take pictures of my own, taking care of settings such as aperture and shutter speed.” 

Students are assigned weekly projects, from photographing low light, movements, portraits and landscape photos. Smith usually does his best to offer field trips once a week as well to students who wish to participate. Past field trips include visiting Stadium Goods, a shoe store in New York City, and seeing the Pittsburg Penguins play. 

Social Fabric Collective has also worked with other programs such as The Association for the Blind, now called Northeast Sight Services, and with David Katz, of Through My Lenses, a legally blind photographer, to raise awareness of the visually impaired. 

“I did a Facetime talk to a group of his students after they saw my film, it was very productive, and they were a great group to share my story with,” said Katz.

Student, Raina Long, 17, Hunlock Creek, is also visually impaired, but still manages to photograph her pets, friends, and Nintendo figures. 

“I went into the program wanting to learn how to make my photos look professional. Jamie taught me that you don’t really need the professional look to take a good photo or to tell a story in a photo,” said Long. “I’d recommend it to people interested in photography or art in general. It’s very fun going on the trips and meeting new people. So, if anything, they’ll make new friends and get to go to cool places.”

Social Fabric Collective has had more than 30 students since it began, each with a story to tell with their pictures. 

“I didn’t know my way around a camera, but Jamie helped a lot and then once I learned I found this whole side of me I didn’t know and it’s a great feeling,” said, Abril Castillo, 17, of Wilkes-Barre. 

A new class will begin in the spring. For information, contact Social Fabric Collective at 570-613-2222 or by email at info@socialfabriccollective.org  or visit www.SocialFabricCollective.org.