Jacob Riis: Photojournalist and Public Health Defender

A man to be admired for his service to the public's health is photojournalist Jacob Riis (1849-1914). Riis emigrated from Denmark to NYC with his family in 1870. He spent much of his young adulthood sleeping in unsanitary police lodging stations as he was unable to find work or support himself. This is where he got his taste of the impoverished conditions in New York City. By 1888 Riis worked his way up to being a photojournalist for the New York Evening Sun (Simkin, J, Spartacus Educational). Riis was determined to expose the otherwise unknown but filthy conditions the "other half" were forced to live in. His effort was aided by flash powder, of which Riis was one of the first photographers to use. Before, not only were the poor other half ignored, but it was also difficult to document their living conditions as electricity was scarce and their homes and environments were dimly lit. After taking hundreds of photographs, in 1890 Riis published his photos and commentary in How the Other Half Lives. New York Police Commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt was greatly impacted by the disturbing images he saw in the book and called for police lodging stations to be closed (Simkin, J.,Spartacus Educational). Through articles, books, and lectures Riis targeted landlords and public officials he saw as responsible for the deplorable living conditions. With the backing of many philanthropists Riis saw his work influence the making of child labor laws, education, parks, regulation of tenements (only 24/609 deemed livable), and the demolition of slums in NYC (Sussman, J.,The Newark Metro).

A public health pioneer in his own right, Riis exemplified the leadership principles needed in the field of public health. His commitment, engagement, and courage were clearly demonstrated every day and night he went out into the slums, every room or tavern he photographed, and every gang-ridden street he walked down. He shed light on how "the other half" lived to an ignorant public. His lectures, photographs, articles, and over 12 published books demonstrated his whole commitment and engagement to a growing problem in NYC (Simkin, J.,Spartacus Educational). In regards to his attitude, dignity, and perspective Riis remained a man with an unwavering goal: to improve the living conditions of the poor in NYC. Riis did not discuss bettering the lives of individuals, but rather bettering society. He stuck with this mindset and this is what appealed to people like Theodore Roosevelt. Lastly, initiative, pride, and servanthood were principles Riis stood by to bring about the change he worked so hard for. He was just a photojournalist for a news paper, but he saw a drastic problem that needed the public's attention and he took the initiative to use his talents to improve the situation. Riis really made this his life's work, he took great pride in sharing his experiences and ideas both orally, visually, and in text.

Riis had no training in health, but saw where something could be done better, for the benefit of people and society. He knew that unsanitary, crowded conditions and filthy streets were unhealthy for people. It was through his efforts that lives for many New Yorkers were improved and what he achieved is still practiced today. Riis sums up his reason for his work in the conclusion of How the Other Half Lives by stating, "Against all other dangers our system of government may offer defense and shelter; against this not. I know of but one bridge that will carry us over safe, a bridge founded upon justice and built of human hearts" (Riis, How the other Half Lives).

To see Riis' photographs and writings go to http://www.authentichistory.com/1865-1897/progressive/riis/index.html

Jacob Riis, CHAPTER XXV How the Case Stands [From How the Other Half Lives] , The Authentic History Center

John Simkin. American Journalist, Spartacus Educational.

Jonathan Sussman, Jacob Riis, Writer With a Camera, The Newark Metro.

Photographs for Child Models

Years ago I decided to make my niche in photography working with child and teen models. I love working with
children and their innocence and hated the scams parents fell trap to and I wound up carving a spot for myself by being honest and producing the types of photographs that the agencies wanted, the ones with the wow factor!

As an up and coming model and her parents start to put her marketing tools together there are some key things that even if everything else is perfect, missing these could cost many opportunities in this industry. What I have learned in my profession is "Not every child is beautiful, yet, every child is beautiful"! If you are serious about getting your child into the modeling industry you need to know what to put into practice NOW.

You need to know which direction you want to go in! This is easy for kids as commercial, print, and catalog are the ones most agencies look for. Study this area, see the look that sells. If every picture in magazines is of blond haired blue eyed babies, than that's the trend. This does not mean your dark haired child will not work, only that they will get less work at this time. It can take up to two years for a child model to catch on at an agency. You must be very patient. Agencies usually work filling their houses with what sells so if you get turned down now, just resubmit in six to eight months when the trend changes.

You DO NOT need professional photographs to submit your child to an agency for consideration, however you do need good pictures. Do not use school, sports, or dance photos from your child's extracurricular activities, they are not what the agents look for and they usually do not show your child in the best light even if you think it's a great shot. Take the time and go to the beach, park, etc and take candid shots of your child/teen, not posed. You want the pictures to talk, ones that you can hear the laughter just by looking at the smile! Never pack makeup on a child and never make them look sexy. I wonder why parents want their five year old daughter to look and act 16 when all the agency wants is a five year old child! Always keep your child looking their age, this is how the agency markets them, this is where they fit into the scheme of things. You will never see a five year old on the cover of Vogue or GQ! When it's time to start working on comp cards, hire a photographer that takes the time to listen to you and what the needs are for your child and your budget. Tell them what you are looking for. Never fall for the Agency Scam of " I work with a few photographers". Just thank them and check them out and than check out others in your area and work with the ones you are the most comfortable with. Unless it's a top notch agency you can pick a photographer of your own choosing, if you can't, run, chances are it's a scam!

Make sure the photographer you choose has worked with children before and I do not mean in a department store kiosk! Not everyone can work with children and right now you need photos that will blow them away. I heard this from someone eons ago but it has helped me many times over and I will pass it on to you."When you are at the store, in the checkout, watch how people scan the magazines, either a cover grabs them or it doesn't…the cover must reach out in that one instant and say hey! The same holds true in the modeling industry. Your photographer must create that stunning look…the one that grabs right away! You need to grab their attention with that one WOW photo of your child that makes them say this is the one! Demand high standards from yourself and whoever is working with you creating your modeling marketing tools. Use a critical eye when deciding which shots make the comp card, Sadly, NOT all of your child's pictures are great though as parents we would like to believe that they are. Your comp cards should only be crafted with the stunning and unforgettable photos. Do not pick the mediocre ,only the very best, the ones that will make a lasting impression into the minds of all who look upon them.

Kids' Performing Arts Summer Camps

Do you have a little star who is always stealing the spotlight? Then help them have a truly memorable summer that will enhance their own natural talents by sending them to a great summer camp designed specifically for kids with an interest in the performing arts. Below you can find just a glimpse of some of the top performing arts for kids to help you in your parenting decisions for summer camp.

Camp Bravo:

Camp Bravo offers programs for kids ages 10-18 with an interest in performing arts. Located in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forrest just a couple of hours outside of L.A. Camp Bravo gives kids a chance to explore a variety of workshops and activities in performing arts in a setting that is encouraging and non-competitive so campers get to learn more about their interest, improve their self-esteem and performance ability while having fun and making new friends in a lush natural environment.

You can learn more about the Camp Bravo on their website at: http://www.campbravo.org

Interlochen Summer Performing Arts Camp:

Offering programs in Dance, Theater and movie arts along with music and creative writing, Interlochen is one of the top choices for a performing arts summer camp for kids in grades 6-12. Sitting on a 1,200 acre in Northwest Michigan, Interlochen offers thousands of students world wide an opportunity to explore performing arts and increase their talents while benefiting from a well respected faculty. And when not engaging in workshops and the performing arts, Interlochen offers plenty of sports and summer time activities for kids to enjoy as well so you know that they are not only getting a quality experience but they will be making new friends and having fun at the same time.

To find out more about how your child can participate in Interlochen's performing arts summer camp check out their site at: http://www.interlochen.org/camp

New York Film Academy Summer Camp

If your child has a serious interest in acting and film, then let them learn from some of the top professionals in the field with one of the best summer camp programs in the country offered by the New York Film Academy. With a variety of programs that span from 1-6 weeks for children ages 10-17, the New York Film Academy offers its summer camp programs in four US cities including New York, L.A., Orlando, Florida, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is one of the most prestigious performing arts summer camp programs in the world and will give the serious performer an invaluable experience.

Learn more about this great opportunity at: http://www.nyfa.com/summer_camp/index.html

YMA: Young Musicians and Artists:

With quality programs in dance, musical theater, and traditional theater arts, the YMA offers programs for your young actor or actress in grades 4-12. Located in Oregon's Willamette University in the city of Salem, YMA lets your child have a chance to learn from professional performers, enhance their skills, and showcase their talents in a variety of performances.

For details on the YMA programs for their performing arts summer camp visit their website at:


Performing Arts Workshop Summer Day Camp:

The Performing Arts Workshop in California offers a summer day camp program for kids ages 5-13 and a more intensive Teen Camp for the theater star in your family. Younger campers will be assisted to explore their own talents and learn the fine art of performance while older students will study acting techniques and learn how to put on a world class production as they make new friends and discover their own potential. With various locations through out the state, this is a great opportunity for parenting your creative child who loves the stage.

Get program details at: http://performingartsworkshops.com

If you still have not found the perfect performing arts summer camp for your kids, check out the summer camp directory for performing arts camps in your state at: http://kidscamps.com/art/performing_art.html

Performing Arts Summer Camps in Orange County

Summer camps for children are a wonderful way to break up those summer days. Your child will learn new skills to enhance their abilities, meet new friends and create wonderful memories. If you have a budding American Idol contestant or a future Academy Award winner, then these are the summer camps you will want your future star to attend.

Orange County Song and Dance Summer Camp
OCSD offers two summer camp options for wannabe singers and dancers. The first camp runs July 5th through 16th (for children 6 to 19 years old) and the second camp runs August 9th through 20th (for children 9 to 21 years old). This extensive performing arts camp offers 60 hours of professional training by some of the industry's best choreographers, vocal coaches, and performers. Classes offered include vocal training; jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and hip hop dance; drama/commercial class; acting classes including improv, drama and novelty. Each participant receives a camp t-shirt and camp photo. Class sizes are limited.

Orange County Song and Dance
5860 Westminster Boulevard
Westminster, California 92683
(714) 897-4475

South Coast Repertory Summer Camp
South Coast Repertory offers a summer acting workshop for children in grades 3 to 12. Each participant is placed in groups with other campers of the same age. Summer camp activities include: interactive instruction in voice; character development; movement and more. Parents and friends are invited on the last day of the two week workshop to view a presentation of what the students have learned. SCR also offers a Summer Musical Theatre Workshop where participants will learn vocal instruction; how to interpret music and text; performance techniques and much more.

South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, California 92626
(714) 708-5577

The Orange County High School of the Arts Foundation
This high school for the performing artsl is offering a summer arts and enrichment program from June 21 through July 30. Classes offered include Introduction to Creative Writing; Dramatic Writing Workshop; Dance Camp exploring jazz, lyrical, Broadway and hip hop; Ballroom Dancing; Guitar; Opera and Choral; Best of Broadway; Ceramics; Computer Animation; and 3-D Design to name a few. Classes are geared towards students in grades 3 through 12. Each specific class has a particular age group. Please check the school website here for detailed information.

The Orange County High School of the Arts
101 North Main Street
Santa Ana, California 92701
(714) 560-0900, ext. 5630

These are just a few of the many options parents have to choose from for summer camps in Orange County. For a comprehensive listing, please go here.

Summer Arts Festivals in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio is a city that offers a bounty of summer festivals and special events designed to appeal to just about every age and range of interests from the Jazz & Ribs Fest to all kinds of musical concerts at varied indoor and outdoor venues to a variety of festivals celebrating different cultures and ethnicities. Some of my own personal favorite summer festivals are those with an artsy and eclectic slant, so I shall offer a few details about several Columbus, Ohio Summer 2009 arts festivals.

The Columbus Arts Festival is an annual outdoor event that takes place near downtown Columbus in early June each year. June 5, 6, & 7 2009 will mark the 45th year for the Columbus Arts Festival. Fine artists from all over the United States will congregate in the Discovery District, a zone of arts and commerce situated near the Scioto Riverfront, the Columbus Museum of Art, and other unique area attractions. Stroll the area and peruse distinctive glass art, textile art, pottery, painting, and more while also being treated to entertainment offered by local musical acts and poets. The Columbus Arts Festival hours are Friday and Saturday from 11:30 A.M. until 10:00 P.M. and Sunday from 11:30 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. Although you will need some spending money if you plan to park in the area, dine at the festival, or purchase some fabulous art, browsing the wares at the Columbus Arts Festival is free.

Another longtime favorite Columbus, Ohio festival, which is also free with the exception of food and personal artsy crafty purchases is Comfest. This eclectic and fun-filled festival sprawls across the pretty green grounds of Goodale Park in the Short North area, offering a quirky assortment of booths peddling arts and crafts and local grassroots politics, a delicious variety of food vendors, and multiple stages lined up with all kinds of local musical acts and other performers. With its distinctive vibe of freedom and community activism and its focus on local live music of all flavors, Comfest has a truly unique appeal, so much so that many festival-goers like to spend the whole weekend there. The motto for the 2009 Comfest is 'Party with Purpose' and it's a byline that makes sense. This festival has been happening since 1972, it is not supported by any corporate sponsors, and it is largely run by a team of committed and passionate volunteers. The 2009 Comfest is scheduled to happen Friday through Saturday, June 26th-28th.

Can't get enough one-of-a-kind handmade art created by indie artists, crafters, and artisans? In that case, you might be especially interested in Craftin' Outlaws, a relatively new Columbus arts festival aka alternative craft fair. 2009 will mark the 5th annual Craftin' Outlaws event; date and venue still TBA. Previous year's incarnations have happened in mid-August at various local venues, usually a hipster-y bar-like locale. For example, last year's incarnation was hosted in the downtown Columbus area at BOMA (Bar of Modern Art), a distinctive and sophisticated eatery slash drinkery slash dance club within an architecturally impressive old church. The event's lucky attendees cold amble up to the bar and buy themselves a tasty libation and then amble through rows and rows of art arts & crafts tables, featuring distinctive wares ranging from the artsy to the kitschy to the vintage to the fine art gems. Handcrafted jewelry, hand dyed baby clothes, homemade soaps, quirky plush toys, nifty paper goods, delightfully peculiar paintings, and divine mixed media shrines are just some of the goodies to be discovered at Craftin' Outlaws. Craftin' Outlaws offers free admission and is open to all ages.

For even more of an alternative arts & crafts fix, check out a similar and more ongoing event called Artisan Sundays, hosted at Columbus Ohio's own downtown North Market, every first and third Sunday of the months from May to October. More handcrafted goodness in another wonderfully unique setting, Artisan Sundays are also available to all ages and absolutely free to browse. Better yet, make a purchase or two for yourself or to bestow as distinctive gifts and support independent art and commerce in the process.