A team of photographers from National Geographic recently came to town to teach their craft to eight young Philadelphians who captured the city in ways that surprised and impressed the veteran photojournalists.
National Geographic Photo Camps have been held all over the world for years; the Philadelphia stop from July 22 to 26 marked the 100th edition of the program.
As part of a collaborative reporting effort, the new photographers and their mentors focused on the Delaware River and its watershed, including the Schuylkill and Wissahickon rivers. “From the Source: Stories of the Delaware River,” is a year-long project of numerous media outlets led by the Philadelphia Inquirer with support from the National Geographic Society, the William Penn Foundation and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Students learned basic photography so they could explore their city and tell the stories they discovered. The camp was led by award-winning photographer Andrea Bruce, who has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous war zones. She was assisted by photographer George McKenzie Jr. and others from National Geographic.
The week took them to Philly highlights including Devil’s Pool in Wissahickon Valley Park, the Ben Franklin Bridge at sunrise, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, City Hall and the Port of Philadelphia.
Here is a curated selection of photos:
Dariana Garcia-Bernabe, 18
Garcia-Bernabe, of South Philadelphia, who graduated from Franklin Learning Center in 2019, wanted to capture, “my neighborhood, my city, my everyday life.” She said she learned the patience required to take multiple photos in order to capture just the right moment, rather than rushing through the process.
Kelvin Nuñez, 17
Nuñez, formerly of West Philadelphia and a rising senior at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, said he “tried to focus on how we take the river for granted without even thinking about it.” He said he learned to seek out the “human factor” in the situations he encountered.
Nayeli Perez, 18
Perez, of Lawncrest, graduated from the Academy at Palumbo in June and is attending Goucher College in Maryland in the fall. Perez said she “tried to take pictures of things or moments that caught my eye." After learning how to manually adjust the camera’s settings, she worked on contrasting colors and how light affects a scene when composing a shot.
Jada Person, 17
Person is a rising senior at Overbrook High School in Pine Hill, Camden County. Person learned to wait patiently for the right shot as a way of “telling story that hasn’t been told yet.” She learned a great deal not only about how to approach people, but also about the environment.
Sylvia Clinton, 18
Clinton is a rising senior at Upper Darby High School. Her goal was to capture the “day to day life” of people. She also learned confidence from approaching people to ask if she could take their picture.