Tinah Utsman

Instructor for Montgomery Village summer photography workshop

How'd you end up in charge of helping kids from an urban housing development learn to take photos?

The Montgomery Village Tenants Association was looking for something like a photography workshop for the kids for the summer. I was going to call and offer them some ideas, but I ended up volunteering by default. They wanted to limit it to 20 kids, and I said, ‘Do you have 20 cameras?' and they said, ‘We have no cameras.'"

But you got some?

I'm a big networker, I sent an e-mail out saying I need you, your time, your money, or a camera. I got eight either donated or loaned. No volunteers, but I actually got some checks.

How'd you decide what to photograph?

They were all things we could go to for free, like the Farmer's Market, Bloomsday. I wanted to go to the zoo but the zoo costs. We did an open house at Montgomery Village and Don Smith got the Sheriff's department to bring a big, old helicopter... even I had never seen that. The kids thought it was the wildest thing in the world, and it was. They climbed all over the helicopter and I made them take some portraits.

How old were the kids in the workshop?

9-13

Did they catch on quickly?

Oh my gosh, I had eight different cameras and none of them were the same. Here I was, ‘Miss Tinah, Miss Tinah, Tinah, how do you work this thing?' Kids are pretty smart when it comes to gadgets. I showed them where to push the button, gave them a few little directions and they ran with it. Most of the cameras were two-three years behind in technology, but it didn't matter to the kids.

A single photo from the workshop, one per child, will run in each of the next six issues of Metro Pulse, in Knox Triage (see page 6).