Photographic Conversations

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Community Collaborative Project, University of Denver

Creative Challenge Community Elementary School (C3)

Instructor: Jessie Paige Rowe 

The Photographic Conversation was an inclusive and intergenerational community engagement project between The University of Denver and Creativity Challenge Community (C3), an innovative elementary school in Denver. The DU student participants were enrolled in Introduction to Photography and Photography Workshop taught by Jessie Paige Rowe and the C3 students were 2nd graders taught by C3’s art teacher BJ Kittleson and 2nd grade teachers, JH Sava and Sara Fornberg.

Over a 2 week period, both groups of students discussed visual language as a system of communication using visual elements. Students investigated what a visual element in photography is and the power of the photographic image. Signs, symbols and the use of metaphor in the understanding and interpretation of photography is key to visual communication as well as intention, personal meaning, and history. Then, over a 2 week period, the students from both institutions engaged in a visual dialogue – a photographic call and response – with a partner from the other school. The two groups of students had a conversation with no words, just pictures. This collaborative project pushed both groups of students to further understand the power of visual communication – that we can communicate and connect with others without the use of spoken or written language – and that although our experiences and contexts may be quite different, we as people are all connected through the human condition. 

Click on the images below to enlarge them and see the students’ work.