Our experience of observing deaf children working with visual media has been an extraordinary one. The children from Kwavulindlebe show great talent for visual art. Our initial approach to getting the children to produce images was through still photography. We showed the children, aged between 8 and 15, how to make pictures with automatic settings. The quality of their framing was sometimes remarkable, especially considering that we did not give them guidelines such as rule of thirds or headroom space, and that many of them were picking up an image-making device for the first time. We simply split them into small groups and gave them three successive tasks: first to represent their school, then to take portraits of each other (some of which include their sign name), and finally to shoot sequences that tell a story. This shows a selection of their images.
The children also learned filmed interview techniques and then used storyboards to create films about their life experiences. Wonderful life skills are being learned as students have shown courage in sharing their life experiences with their peers. It is lovely to see that there was a distinct shift in the disposition of the children as they handled the camera; confidence, a sense of responsibility and ownership, they were deliberate in their actions and what they chose to capture.