Local kids' photos on display at the Harn

From left, Eleanor Ray, 16, Ravi Kumar, 9, Miranda Blanton, 13, and Jay Leshan, 6, hold their photographs, all a part of the "My Neighborhood" exhibit at the Harn Museum. The photographs of local students will accompany a national exhibit titled ``City Streets,'' also at the Harn.

DARON DEAN/Special to The Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 at 10:07 p.m.



"Photo Fun" at the Harn Museum of Art's Family Day, 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Explore nearly 100 photographs that document the life of America's city streets during the 1930s, '40s and '50s in the exhibit, "City Streets: Photographs of American Life."

The reception and recognition ceremony for "My Neighborhood" Student Photography Exhibition will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Chandler Auditorium.

The Harn Museum of Art is at Hull Road and SW 34th Street. Admission is free. For information about either event, call Rachel Gibas, 392-9826 or E-mail rgibas@harn.ufl.edu.

Ravi Kumar's northwest Gainesville neighborhood is aptly called Maple Hill.
"We've got maple trees, and we've got hills," said 9-year-old Ravi, explaining the content (and logic) of a photo he took that shows both. "It really expresses the neighborhood that I live in."
Ravi's brother, 14-year-old Casey Kumar, also has a photo on display at the Harn Museum of Art. His is a stop-action shot of Ravi and neighborhood pal Eric Martin that shows the two boys in a water balloon fight: "Water Balloon Brawl."
The two brothers' pieces are among 48 photographs chosen for exhibition in "My Neighborhood," a show of student works featuring photographers in grades K-12.
The show is hung in the Chandler Auditorium at the Harn and is running concurrently with "City Streets: Photographs of American Life." While that exhibit features black and white urban documentary photos from New York to San Francisco, local kids photographed scenes from their everyday lives.
There are multiple shots of friends hanging out together on school playgrounds, hamming it up for the camera, striking poses, acting cool. Eighth-grader Matthew Kinser's photographs of airborne skateboarders look like sneakered feet sailing on magic carpets.
Children have a natural affinity for animals, and they show up in these photographs in droves: ducklings, dogs and a gator - in separate photos rather than in one food-chain-in-action shot - cows, goats and cats. All shot at kid height, and all in kid perspective.
In Chiles Elementary kindergartner Samuel Cokey's two photographs, we see his dad talking to the mail carrier and his little sister playing with toys in the driveway of their southwest Gainesville home.
Six-year-old Jay Leshan lives in the Florida Park neighborhood near J.J. Finley Elementary School. He photographed a "Curve, 10 mph" sign across from his house near the duck pond, "'cause I wanted to."
"He likes street signs," said his mom, Louise OFarrell.
Jay said he wants to be a photographer when he grows up, "a lot."
"As long as he gets paid with candy," jokes his dad, Larry Leshan.
Nearer than Jay to declaring a college major, Spring Hill Middle School eighth-grader Miranda Blanton plans to enter either the still photography or cinematography career fields.
She's taken photo courses through SFCC's Community Education program. ("She was into butts for a while," shares her mom, Pam Thomas. Miranda indignantly explains: "They were at eye level! Little kid's point of view!")
Miranda captured her neighbors' horses in "Horses in the Fence," and "Light at the End of the Road" shows the sun-streaked country lane where her dad, grandmother and aunt all have homes outside High Springs.
"The light was perfect-looking to me, so I took the picture," she said. She entered the contest, she said, because "I can always put on a college application that I got in the Harn. But it was actually fun."
Rachel Gibas, the Harn's education coordinator, said teachers at Idylwild Elementary School, Spring Hill Middle School, Cedar Key School and Oak Hall School used the contest as a class project. They received submissions from individuals as well, about 138 in all.
A collection of black and white photos from Cedar Key shows scenes around the island community - Molly Gordon's "Brian Buesing Memorial," J.D. Hutchinson's "Cedar Key Firehouse," and Chloe Reynolds' "Mom and Ridley Dropping Off Library Books" are just a few. Some were shot right at home, such as Mychayla Franklin's "Cleaning Fish."
The show is getting good feedback, and people keep asking Gibas, "When are you going to do this again?" and "Are you going to make this an annual event?"
"We're considering it," she said. Julie Garrett can be contacted at (352) 374-5049 or by e-mail to garretj@gvillesun.com.

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