The Focus Photography program uses the arts to encourage healthy activity and self-expression. Since 2009 the KEEN Group has taught 203 youth outdoor still photography and computer editing. Youth ages 9-15 learn digital photography in 16 sessions of studio classes and field trips for shooting. All classes are taught by professional photographers and Master photographers. Community mentors assist teachers by keeping order, reinforcing instructions and providing general guidance.

Students learn the features of point and shoot digital cameras. They learn camera and lens care, battery life and charging techniques, the function and care of memory cards and the function of each button on the camera. They learn how to use the wide angle and zoom features, the timer and delete features. Students are given frequent feedback and praise for their work. They are encouraged to use their cameras to express feelings, to tell stories, to advocate and to entertain. Students learn to use Photoshop software to edit photos, although less emphasis is placed on digital editing than learning to actually take photos.

Each eight week photography course concludes with a celebration. Through its partnership with Tarrant County Community College, the KEEN Group takes students, families, staff and volunteers to the College’s downtown campus for a grand celebration. Students show off their speaking skills as stars of the program. Their best work is exhibited and judged by panels of professional photographers and staff of area universities. Prizes are awarded to first, second, third place winners and to three honorable mentions. Each student receives a digital camera, a certificate of completion and the praise of the audience. Following the ceremony, the new photographer graduates stand beside their easels and discuss their work with guests.

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