A picture can speak volumes.
A black and white picture can remove distractions.
The face can invoke emotion.
The eyes can pierce your soul.
On Friday in middle schools, high schools and colleges around the U.S. students will be observing the annual Day of Silence. This year I was honored with the task of capturing images of Saint Martin's University faculty and staff who volunteered for a poster campaign. These photos are just a sample from the sessions last week.
Started in 1996 by students at the University of Virginia, The Day of Silence's goal among many is to bring awareness to LGBTA bullying and harassment in schools. Students take a vow of silence during the day (as long as they can, however they can manage) and explain what they are doing with posts to social media, wearing shirts and handing out cards to those who are curious.
While preparing for these sessions I contemplated having articles and other media concerning recent events for the participants to soak in before opening my shutter. As a method actor (yeah, I did a little acting in my younger years...) I thought it might help bring to the surface more authentic emotions. By the time we started I had decided against it and it proved to be the right call. Each participant had pure, honest looks that accurately portray the ambition of the project.
News articles appear on my Facebook feed daily regarding LGBTQA harassment, legal fights against Marriage Equality and struggles for love and understanding from friends, family and the society at large. It seems to me that a program aimed at bringing an end to bullying and the use of abhorrent, despicable speech is one that needs our attention.
I hope this endeavor sparks conversation, deep thoughts and powerful emotions. What emotions and thoughts do these images invoke in you? I would love to read about them in the comments section!