//Ad libs: Picture this


Friday, May 25, 2007

Picture this

Not to brag, but I was a heck of a photojournalist during high school at Menlo-Atherton. I think I had one photo published during my entire four years. Of a pep rally.

I should have gone to Sacred Heart. Seven advanced photography students there have been shooting rallies, too -- rallies about immigration issues. In fact, they've been getting very close to these hot-button topics by documenting life here in the Bay Area Mexican and Central American immigrant communities.

To top that, five of them took a photography trip to Tijuana in March. There, they spent five days at the Casa del Migrante, a Catholic refuge that shelters and feeds migrants and deportees. It sounds like their teacher, Lars Howlett, gave them a rare opportunity for insight into a complex international issue. If only we all had the time (and finances) to step outside our borders this way.

The seven students currently are exhibiting 80 of their black-and-white photos from this project at the SPUR Projects gallery in Portola Valley. A book may be forthcoming as well.

One of the photographers, Shannon Hamilton, will also grace the pages of the Weekly on June 6. She won first prize in the youth category of the Weekly's annual photo contest this year.

Pictured:

Top: This photo by Shannon Hamilton shows a migrant on a Tijuana street, most likely worn out from a long trip to the border. "For many the greatest challenges and dangers are faced traveling through Mexico from Central American countries such as Honduras or El Salvador," Shannon says in a photo description.

Above: Marie Hamilton's photo depicts day laborers waiting for work outside a supermarket in the North Fair Oaks neighborhood near Redwood City. The neighborhood is known to some locals as Little Michoacan.