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Teaching a Photography Workshop in Hong Kong

Together with the French International School in Hong Kong, CJ EKLUND FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY travelled to the fragrant city to teach and supervise a photography workshop in Hong Kong as part of their CAS week activities.

Not long after the launch of my new website and the beginning of me offering workshop services, I was contacted by a Co-ordinator at the French International School in Hong Kong. They had decided to do a Photography Workshop as part of their Creativity, Activity and Services program. Along with volunteering and farming activities, they had put together a program that grew to be so popular that they decided to bring in a Professional Photographer to help them handle the ins and outs.

It was wonderful to be a part of such a fantastically successful arts orientated program because the school hadn’t previously focused too much on the arts and hadn’t expected it to be so popular. The sign up sheet went from being about 12 students to just over 90! I’m told that they are now looking to keep an arts option for their CAS week events in the future, which is wonderful.

In the Classroom

The photography workshop started with a basic lecture on how to use the camera and its settings more effectively. Key knowledge base components included composition, shutter speed, ISO and aperture and the students got to have hands on experience with the professional gear I had taken with me, including two film cameras. A Mamiya 645 Pro TL and a Canon EOS 1v. It’s great to see such engaged and mature students really take a strong interest in the photographic medium and embrace everything there was to learn.

In the Field

Outside of the classroom, we focused on a select few locations within Hong Kong that the students were charged with photographing. They were provided with a theme and worked with a partner to interpret the locations they visited in order to illustrate their given theme. Among the locations were the Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter, Pok Fu Lam Village, which is world heritage listed and The Botanical Gardens and Hong Kong Park. The five themes were Community, Transformation, Environment, Conflict and Humanity. It was great to be on site with the students and watch them really work with what they had been taught during our photography workshop and actually put it into practice.

On the Cutting Room Floor

When it came time for the students to edit and cull their photos, I was impressed at their ability to be objective about their work. Especially when it came time to choosing the better photo, even if it meant that they had to accept that it wasn’t necessarily created by them. The skills of the students with photo editing programs was quite impressive and I would say that if offered, students would take more creative classes if the school allowed it.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience and a very successful event and the French International School should be very proud of everything they achieved. They could not have done it without their CAS Co-ordinator Helen Bell, though. She was unfortunately unable to attend CAS week, but thanks to her organisation of the whole event, the Photography Workshop for CAS week was a huge success.

Below are some of the photos from some of the locations we visited throughout the workshop. I also visited some extra sites outside of the workshop in my down time. Hong Kong is a wonderfully vibrant, kinda and sociable city and probably has one of the best city views I’ve even seen. All images are made using either a Canon EOS 1v or a Mamiya 646 Pro TL using Ilford HP5 Plus, Fuji 400H pro and Kodak Portra 400.

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If you are a school or education provider looking to offer Photography Workshops, please contact me on hello@cjeklund.com for more information on how you can make it possible.

Film developed and scanned by Carmencita Film Lab

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Fabi & Steve’s Rwandan Wedding Photographs

A COLOURFUL WEDDING IN RWANDA: FULL OF MUSIC, LOVE AND LAUGHTER IN KIGALI

It’s like something from a movie or an epic romance novel. Fabiola and Steve met on an idyllic beach situated on an island off the main coast of Tanzania and it was an instant connection. A girl from Rwanda and a boy from England. A friendship struck and love was fated. Fast forward a few years and these two crazy in love cats are having their very own wedding in Rwanda.

From the moment I arrived in Rwanda, I fell in love with it. It’s like nowhere else in Africa and the people are warm and inviting with big, unassuming personalities. So, it’s no surprise that a wedding in Rwanda is the same way. Many friends and family travel from all over just to attend. Traditionally, a cow is given as a dowry to the Bride’s Father and the marriage is sealed by drinking the cow’s milk, which is passed around to all family members to solidify the agreement.

The Preparations

But first, the girls gather in one room to get ready and the boys gather in another. Meanwhile, outside, all the guests have arrived and are watching the Father of the Bride and the representative for the Father of the Groom battle it out to see if Steve is worthy of Fabi. The more witty the representative, the easier it is to make a good impression. Rwandans have the biggest smiles and they love a good laugh, so it’s important to keep the crowd entertained. This can take hours so the girls can take their time making sure the Bride looks perfect.

The Bride’s outfit and head piece are a true thing of beauty. They symbolise the cow’s horns, which is also a symbol of wealth and fertility. There’s something quite majestic that happens once Fabi is completely ready. She’s transformed. She looks like a Queen. The Groom carries a herders crook, again to symbolise his wealth and show he’s capable of providing. While Fabi waits for her cue to make her debut, Steve and his best man sit on their podium and watch the proceedings.

During the many verbal duke outs between the Fathers, there are dancers who perform traditional Rwanda cow dances and two warriors from the two tribes fight each other with swords. Inside, Fabi looks on with anticipation and finally, it’s time. She makes her entrance with a collective gasp from the crowd and prepares to marry her man.

The Ceremony

It’s an emotional affair, with Steve reading from a speech he had especially written in Kinyarwandan, which is quite impressive as pronunciation can be quite tricky, but Steve is finally deemed worthy to marry his Bride and the whole venue erupts with celebration. Fabiola’s father is so full of happiness he cannot contain and dances like no one’s watching.

I feel very honoured to have been a part of this amazing wedding in Rwanda and it really proves that love is a universal language. You can see it in Fabi and Steve’s wedding portraits towards the end of the journal entry. Standing on a cliff overlooking the famous hills of Kigali and staring into each other’s eyes as the sun goes down. That’s love, baby!

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I used a mixture of 35mm film and digital to capture this wedding in Rwanda and I also travelled with Fabi and Steve to Lake Kivu to photograph a loveshoot with them, which you can view by clicking HERE

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