A summer with Common Ground Montgomery

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”
— Paul Caponigro

Every Wednesday, three of our team mates, Josh Moates, Brooke Glassford, and Erika Tracy pack up their equipment and head over to Common Ground Montgomery to teach class. 

Common Ground Montgomery is an urban ministry that rests merely minutes from our studio.

Their mission is to transform the community by investing in urban youth from the Washington Park community of Montgomery, Alabama.

The kids of Washington Park participate in a summer camp program where they work on academics, biblical study, and hands on learning activities.  

Volunteers spend their summers working alongside the kids teaching elective courses, such as: Art, cooking, dance, gymnastics, and photography.

Josh, Brooke, and Erika have spent weeks teaching the kids about film and digital photography.

They taught them how to capture what they find beautiful. 

They taught them how to be free to be creative. 

The whole team took a day and went with Josh and Brooke to take portraits of the kids.

Josh's idea was to take portraits so that the kids could come to the studio to tour the film lab, learn how film is developed, and in the end, get two prints of their portraits. 

The kids loved it. 

A few kids planned to wear their favorite outfits to have their picture taken. 

Some students shyly giggled and bashfully tried to hide from the camera, while others acted like they modeled for a living.

We all got to watch Josh in action as he allowed these kiddos to be fully themselves and, in turn, captured the true nature of their personalities in every shot.

A few weeks later, the kids got to come on tour at our studio.

They walked through the film lab and proved to our staff that they have been paying close attention in every class! 

They were interested and excited, respectful and definitely brought a joyful noise into our often, somewhat quiet, office.  

I think what melted us all was their time viewing their portraits. 

They sat together while Brooke played some LaCrae music and the kids got to see their portraits one by one. 

They laughed and screamed, elbowing and nudging their friends that appeared on the big screen.

Their interns commented on every one of them with, "Look how beautiful!", "Oh that was the outfit you planned, it looks so great!" or our favorite "That is so YOU!"

The person behind the camera is merely a catcher of moments, memory, and the true makeup of the person in front of it.

The kids got the hard copies of their pictures.  

They stared at them with bashful smiles of excitement, making every moment of the class worth it just to see that response! 

I think our team at Kim Box Photography would all agree that the time spent teaching photography has been nothing short of an incredible blessing. 

Thank you Common Ground Montgomery for letting us be and continue to be a part of these incredible students lives. 

They've captured us.

Written by: Laura Jean Bell (Studio Manager)