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Pupils show off photography skills

STUDENTS from a migrant school in Songjiang District provide an intriguing new perspective on Shanghai, with a photographic exhibition of their work opening tomorrow.

The 23 migrant children form Li'an Middle School have trained their camera lenses on capturing everything from moody urban streetscapes to the everyday life in their neighborhoods.

Thirteen photographs will be exhibited for seven weeks at the German Center in Zhangjiang High-tech Park, Pudong New Area.

The photographs were selected by an expert panel that included internationally acclaimed photographer Wang Gangfeng and were originally exhibited and sold at a fundraising auction in April.

The "Picture This" photography project and its subsequent exhibition and auction were run as part of the community work Bamboo Money - a Shanghai-based personal finance company undertaking.

The auction raised more than 5,600 yuan (US$823) for Stepping Stones, a charity that organizes volunteer English teachers for migrant schools around Shanghai.

Wang said he was impressed by the photographic skills the children displayed, saying they had shown great creativity.

"The most important thing a photographer must have if they are to be any good is mature thought - this is something that not everyone can have.

"As long as you have the thought, the eye for what will make a good photograph, you can develop the skill sooner or later. Some of these children showed themselves to have a great creative awareness, and with time spent to learn the skill, they could become great photographers," Wang said.

Yao Jiajia, 14, from Nanping, Fujian Province, took an atmospheric urban landscape of buildings at sunset and she said she is a keen amateur photographer in her spare time.

The photograph is of her school's mathematics building after school has finished.

The picture shows the contrast between the gleaming towers in the background and the basic school building.

"When compared with high towers that are far away it looks simple, scant, old and dilapidated," Yao said.

"I am still proud of it because talented people come from here and here we can learn everything we want to. We can contribute to future society."

Li'an Middle School teacher Mr Liu said the students had enjoyed being able to find a creative outlet through photography.

"The students have been inspired by this project, and it was easy to see from their faces during the activity that they were having a wonderful time," Liu said. "They welcome and appreciate positive experiences like this."

German Center Office Manager Kerstin Kaehler was so impressed by the photographs that he bought four works at the April exhibition.

Kaehler said the works provided a fresh look by young photographers at their surroundings, which was interesting to a viewer.

"You can feel their renewed interest in what previously were everyday places to them, in the way they frame them and make them shine," Kaehler said.

People visiting the exhibition at the German Center can vote for their favorite picture and the winner will receive a prize donated by the center.

An opening ceremony will be held with the center's German Information and Street Market event on Saturday at 5pm.

Date: Tomorrow-October 24

Venue: German Center, 88 Keyuan Rd

Admission: Free


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