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Nikon D2X

Capture Date/Time: November 30, 2006 11:00
Aperture/Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec, f7.1
Focal Length: 24 mm
ISO: 100
Flash: Studio Strobes (Speedotron)

Last week, we finished working on a huge book project for my kids' school here in Chicago. Along with a very dedicated parent in my son's class who has amazing page-layout skills, we put together and published a book of portraits of the kids in the class. The portraits were taken during a class unit on immigration where the kids went through an all-morning simulation of entering the United States via Ellis Island. Each kid dressed up as an immigrant from a country of their choice, and the teachers brought the kids back to the early 1900's at the famous gateway to this country. Teachers and parents acted as inspectors and customs agents, shuffling these "immigrants" through some of the rigorous tests that people coming through the Island experienced back then. It was a very unique point in American history.

The school allowed me to set up my studio on a vacant classroom, and each kid came in, dressed up and in character. I was simply another station in the simulation. As we spoke to them during the quick snap of photos, some of them worried about whether they would be deported, whether they would have enough money to survive here, etc.

This week I'll be posting photos from the book, which we sold to raise money for the school at their annual fundraiser. This young lady came from France.


02.26.07, 09:12 AM, Jeremi:

What an incredible project, so cool of you to help out! I love the clothing here, hehe! Beautiful portrait!

02.26.07, 01:38 PM, Obelix:

Very very very cool.

Excellent project. Can't wait to see your photos.

02.26.07, 04:43 PM, Rock Kauser:

What a great project idea! -- My first thought on seeing this image was, She's leaving home, bye-bye.

02.26.07, 04:44 PM, Rock Kauser:

I meant to ask - will the subjects and their families will be able to purchase the book?

02.26.07, 04:49 PM, MikesRightBrain:

Thanks so much for the comment, Rock!

Yes, we made 100 copies of the book available for sale at a fundraiser. We sold quite a few of them, and the image reproduction in the print was really great.

02.26.07, 10:45 PM, Pieter:

W O W. Mike you continue to shock and awe. I am the son of immigrants (Holland... actually I was born there) That is a great project. The photo is STUNNING

02.27.07, 01:04 AM, P.J.:

That might be one of the best school projects I've ever heard about. That is well thought out the teacher(s) that came up with it should be commended. This is an excellent image too. Good work!

02.27.07, 06:04 AM, navin:

Beautiful shot. Great lighting,

02.27.07, 08:40 AM, ana:

wow, what an amazing project, and I applaud you and the teachers and other parents who took the time to teach the kids about this..... I'm very impressed...very. *claps*

02.27.07, 09:55 AM, Ashish Sidapara:

Thats a fun project, this is a superb portrait! Love the framing, the details are superb throughout. Looking forward to more in this series!!

02.27.07, 01:59 PM, Intern:

superb portrait and a great project!

02.28.07, 03:34 AM, Heidi:

Mike, I have noticed before, that you are very dedicated to your kids and it seems you put a lot of work and effort in their education and lifes as such. It is all documentent in your great photoblog. I am very much impressed and I do truly believe that you are a wonderful dad! If we had more dads like you on this planet, it would, most definitely, be a better one! These pictures here just show me again how dedicated you are. I am sure, it was a very good experience for all these kids to "go through" the same for a short time through what their ancestors had to go. Yes, this is what I think is a crucial part of their education! And, not to forget, you made superb photos of these children! Thumbs up for you Mike!!

03.03.07, 09:28 PM, cool daddio:

What a great set of portraits! and what a treasure for these families. Cool idea for the kids to act this out. Melissa's father came through Ellis island from Lebanon so we've talked about it with the kids but it's hard to grasp. I bet these kids will never forget their experience.

03.12.07, 10:19 AM, Diane:

Mike, I just went through all your Ellis Island images. What a WONDERFUL project and your photography skills are PERFECT for this. Outstanding job...excellent portraits!

03.19.07, 08:39 AM, EXP:

Wow, what a great project, what a great father you are, and what a great school. I hope someday, when I have children that I can find a school that is this engaged in creative learning rather than "teacher sleeps with student" crap. Excellent work, great shots! And great for the kids who got to experience something unique like that!

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