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  • Writer's pictureRemy Whiting

Stacey Hatfield Teaching Diary


First day of teaching at EMZOMNCANE school.

Grade 6 children aged between 11-14 years old.

We taught them the basics of using a digital camera and the functions they need to know to take photos. We also shown them a day in the life which showed them our lives back in England and shared photos from our journals…this gave them an insight into our lives and also inspiration for taking photos that day with the digital cameras we gave them. It was a wonderful to give the children these cameras and experience the incredible enthusiasm they have to learn about photography they were super excited and very keen to start photographing their surroundings and take their fellow pupils portraits in the school….

In the afternoon Remy and I downloaded all the photos from all x10 Nikon cameras and created a digital archive of their photos, it was brilliant to see so many great photos and a varied approach and style from each student. During this week we will show these photos to the students and ask them to select their favourite documentary photos and portraits…

Second day of teaching at EMZOMNCANE school:

Grade 7 children aged 12-14 years old.

We arrived at the school early in the morning ready to teach the grade 7 children, the same kids Remy taught last year and so we were really excited to see them again! We started with sharing some 35mm films that had since been printed from the previous trip, the children were really excited these pictures and immediately started to flick through them on the tables in the classrooms which was lovely to see they still had a real excitement about photography! Remy and I then divided the children into 2 groups of 5 and gave them each a journal/book of their own to stick the photographs in to – we asked them to sort/edit through the photos and choose a select amount of between 5 and 6 photos which best told a story of what was happening in the photographs at that time, who was in the photo, do they like the image? and also what mood the image could be, we the people happy or sad in the images? We asked them to write a sentence about each image..I really enjoyed spending time doing this with the children they had interesting opinions and thoughts about the photos which helped me understand the photographs better and also think differently about what was happening in some of the images…

After lunch break Remy and I gave them each a Nikon digital camera and also gave them various inpiration images that contain mainly portraiture. We asked them to look through the books/images and try to include some of the elements of those images into their own Portraits they are going to take….this was really interesting to see, many of the children had totally different styles of what images they liked e.g whether they focused on the persons face only or included the persons fully body in the photo. After looking at some of the inspiration photos we then asked the children to get into pairs, go outside and take each others Portrait in various styles and ways they had been inspired by. This was so much fun the children again were so incredibly enthusiastic about this and were taking lots of photos with different expression and posing. We even spent some time showing the children how perspective works in photography too and did some fun jumping photos on the grass, the children loved this and kept practicing over and over again until they got the shot right…

In the afternoon Remy and I downloaded all the photos from all x10 Nikon cameras and created a digital archive of their photos, it was brilliant to see so many great photos and a varied approach and style from each student. During this week we will show these photos to the students and work on improving their portrait styles…


We arrived at the school at 9am and set up our photography lesson in the school library and then went to discover which class we would be taking first this morning. We soon discovered that it would be Grade 6 and so we decided to teach them about light and the different ways it can be used to do this we used torches and found objects such as toys, feathers and items that would make interesting shapes on the walls created by the torch light…the children really enjoyed experimenting with this and found it funny when the shadows appeared really large on the walls…we asked them to photograph the many different shadows they created with their torches. We then invited them all outside and we did another session with them, this time the Sun was our torch and they used each other as their objects in the sunlight. Again they were experimenting with light and the different ways it reacts depending on where they move or arrange their subjects. It was really fun teaching the grade 6 how light works I think they found it interesting and had a fun time working out how to get better pictures…We finished with some fun jumping shots working on perspective within photography which got the kids running and jumping high in front of the camera making it appear as if they are jumping really high in the air ! This got lots of laughs and giggles! At the end of the day we arranged with one group of 5 to take the cameras home with them to document their evening…to be continued 🙂

In the afternoon we did brief lesson with grade 7 – we continued to work on perspective with them and did some more jumping images and introduced various props to encourage them to think about how they can be used in the shot creatively…I asked them to think of all the different ways they can experiment and use perspective in their photographs, some kids photographed on floor, others from above and some from lying on the floor. I’m looking forward to working more with grade 7 and improving their ability to take portraits using just available light. I hope to return next week and focus on this with Remy….also to be continued


We arrived at the school early ready to pick up cameras from the children at school, we were chatting in the car about how excited we were to see their photos and also anxious to know if all 10 cameras would be returned…they were!

Then went to teach the JSE group for the first time and gave them x10 digital cameras to take home for the weekend. Older girls 15 years old. We will re-visited them for 2 lessons next week.


Arrived at the school at 9am to meet the children and pick up the digital cameras we left them yesterday. The kids were in exams when we arrived and so we quickly popped into the class and collected the cameras off them – we asked them how they got on and if they took lot of photos last night…

PM – drive out to Jefferys Bay. Had a look around the town and did some surf retail shopping..and grabbed a bite to eat in one of the local restaurants!

In the eve we went to a local bar called Music Kitchen and listened to some local rock music. Fun!


Looking over Grade 6 pics, getting ready to print. PM chill ! Went over to Stanley St, saw some local galleries.

Sunday: Safari. Amazing place and Accommodation. We saw everything – Rhino/Lion/Leopard/Giraffe/Zebra/Buffalo/Elephant…oh and water hog, baboon and a Jackal ! I couldn’t have wanted more from our safari trip, it was everything I could have hoped for. Amazing Amazing experience…I want to go back!


Dropped off x2 cameras at school for 2 grade 6.

Pick up JSE girls cameras, start developing them – we got back x9 cameras in total and developed them back at the backpacks in my room. Fun times especially when we lost power in the whole building mid way through developing them!


Sort and scan negs

Our missing film camera came back this morning and so we had to develop this one on it’s own. In the meantime we made a tighter edit of the Grade 6 images ready to be printed and put into their journals. We got in contact with Adele from Kodak and went over to her store to arrange the next batch of prints for the digital images for grade 6 at a special price!


Pick up digital prints for grade 6. All 600 of them!

Head to school to do a lesson with G6 and sticking into their journals..

Videoing for Promo in between,

Head to Issac boy for 3pm lesson – show them the images. Talk about them. Visual story/what’s going on. People in them.


Today was an early start so I nipped out to the supermarket to buy some candies for the children…We then headed to the school for our lesson with Grade 7 class teaching the children about video/photography whilst also shooting some content for the next SNAP promo video. This was so so so much fun some of the children were naturals at working the camera and directing their friends from behind the camera. We spent several hours shooting sound bites ‘thank you’ messages and other promo shots. At one point we got most of the school involved when we asked one of the boys ‘Banana’ to act as our subject for the SNAP promo video and film the story of him being given a camera and taking it home for the night. It was such a lovely site to see every so interested and excited in helping us shoot this. I think the children also learnt a lot of video too!

Today we also visited the JSE girls for their last lesson. We went over their 35mm images and asked them to talk about what was happening in the photos, if they liked them, who they were, if they didn’t like the photo etc. We tried to teach them about light and shadows so next time they could improve their portrait technique. We left 10 cameras with them and film so we will look forward to seeing what they shoot with their next roll of film!


The children’s assembly. This was brilliant to experience the children all lined up in their uniforms listening to Miss January talking to them and giving some wise words. The sun was just coming up and the light was just beautiful. Before we knew it was time for us to hand out the certificates to Grade 6 and 7…both Remy and I handed out certificates and orange SNAP hats to all 20 children…it was sweet to see them all so very excited and also shy about getting their certificates in front of the whole school…the entire school then proceeded to sing a song all together and in harmony which was wonderful to hear and also see some of them dancing away! Experiencing this kind of thing certainty makes your heart warm! Afterwards we did a few video thank you messages with the children and took photos of them in their hats all together. Soon enough it was time for us to say goodbye to everyone at the school. It was sad saying goodbye although, we all knew it wouldn’t been too long before we would be back teaching their again soon. I will miss the energy, love and excitant the kids gave us everyday!

With Mncdedisi we then drove through to his township to a chapel, that evening there was going to be a service to celebrate a man becoming a Bishop – when we arrived they had just slaughtered a cow for the feast, they were chopping up the ribs with an axe and sorting the meat into various containers for cooking over the wood fire that was burning away. At that point of the day the sun was getting really hot and we were really hungry although seeing in cold light this cow that had just been killed and was being chopped up bit by bit suddenly made me loose my appetite….


Pack, Beach, Ice Cream and airport!

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