Elementary and middle school students from South Buffalo’s Seneca Babcock community displayed their “street photography” skills at a Daemen College exhibition that was inspired by the works of American street photographer Vivian Maier.
The photographs shown in the April 21 exhibition, “Seneca Babcock Through the Eyes, Hearts and Art of Children: Part III,” resulted from a community art project overseen by Dr. Mary Wolf, Daemen associate professor of art education, and art education major Samantha Lora of Manchester.
During the five-week project, participating students learned about the vast body of works by Maier, who is synonymous with American street photography. Over a period of nearly 50 years, she worked as a nanny while secretly taking more than 100,000 photographs on the streets of Chicago and New York City that were discovered decades later at an auction. Today, her works are displayed in museums across the country and she is featured in the critically acclaimed documentary “Finding Vivian Maier.”
Inspired by Maier’s story and photographs, students were accompanied by their teachers as they tried the art of street photography in the Seneca Babcock neighborhood.
“In preparation to take photos, we explained to students the importance of observing, documenting and sharing their views of the Seneca Babcock community,” said Wolf. “We encouraged the students to closely observe their world and to find beauty in everyday things, and then to capture these images in a compelling way as Vivian Maier did in her street photography.”
Proceeds from photos sold in the Daemen exhibition will benefit the Seneca Street After-School Program. The project, which is the third in a series of art education projects conducted with students in the Seneca Babcock area, was a collaborative effort sponsored by the Daemen-Seneca Babcock Partnership established by the college’s Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement.