On the heels of her recent inauguration into Rehabilitation Through Photography, a New York-based NPO centered on the rehabilitative capacity of the creative arts, photographer AMY POSTLE sat down with JMI to talk about the program, her inspiring involvement, and the true power of creativity.
JMI REPS: You've recently become involved with the Rehabilitation Through Photography NPO here in New York. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, what can you tell us about it?
AMY POSTLE: Rehabilitation Through Photography is a local not-for-profit that, for 70 years, has implemented a broad range of photography programs to various populations throughout New York, including the physically and emotionally challenged, elderly, at-risk youth, homeless, and the visually impaired.
JMI: What is your roll in the program?
AP: My program takes place at Marilyn David IVDU Upper School, a special needs high school for girls in Brooklyn. I am a volunteer photography instructor who created, implemented, and am currently teaching weekly photography classes to eleven emotionally and socially challenged girls, ages 13-21.
JMI: What techniques are introduced during a typical class period?
AP: We work with point and shoot cameras, learning practical skills while exploring the creative process.
JMI: While clearly centered on the photography process, what else would you say this program offers its students?
AP: My goal is not only to expose the students to the creative arts, but to enhance their life skills...to inspire and enable (them) to channel their energy in an open and expressive way, reinforcing independence, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment.
JMI: What has been one of your most memorable classroom experiences, thus-far?
AP: The highlight of my first class was a breakthrough I had with one of the students, Tahilla. Having been warned of her intense shyness, it was an overwhelming feeling to have her engage, ask questions, and be very focused. Watching her explore the room with her camera was equally exciting. She was drawn to shapes, color, and she, who had never even held a camera before, by far captured the most creative images of the day.
JMI: What insight has being a part of this program given you into the power of photography as a vessel of expression?
AP: While I love my commercial work, the joy I am receiving by helping these girls is so unique. In my class, I see students connecting to each other and to the world through their cameras...the creative process is helping them find their voice.