Tara Hall boys learn the art of photography

  • Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Scott Harper/Times The students at Tara Hall taking the Cameras for Children course seemed to be very interested in the photographs shown by organization founder Betsey Chesler.


Don’t be surprised if one day the list of famous photographers includes not only names such as Ansel Adams, Yousuf Karsh and Robert Capa - but also the names of some of the residents of Tara Hall Home for Boys.

Last week, a group of the boys are staying at the Georgetown County home began an eight-week course called “Cameras for Kids” which will teach them the art of photography.

Betsey Chesler, the founder of “Cameras for Kids Foundation,” helped teach the first day. The remainder of the course will be taught by Pawleys Island resident Donald Withers, whose photographs have been published in multiple publications. He is staff photographer for the Kaminski House Museum and Hobcaw Barony.

“Donald is a great addition to our team of photographers,” Chesler said. “His enthusiasm for photography along with his strong desire to work with kids in his community makes him a great fit for our program.”

Chesler said the eight-week program offers weekly camera lessons to children living in residential facilities across the United States. Something she never realized was so common until she started the foundation.

“At any given time there is a minimum of 500,000 children that are not presently living with their families and they’re usually taken out due to abuse, abandonment, neglect, many problems in the home. So it’s a matter of safety and these children are victims of circumstances so I thought I want to help them what can I offer and my passion is photography,” said Chesler.

Chesler began the class by giving some helpful hints on great picture-taking.

“Find ways to take a picture in ways no others are taking them,” she told the students. ‘And don’t be afraid of black and white photos. You can do a lot with black and white.”

Patsy Morris, the assistant director at Tara Hall, said the camera workshop allows students to learn new skills that they can use in the future.

“We’re hoping to spark an interest to give a child something that he doesn’t think he’s good at and inspire his self confidence,” said Morris.

And it seems that has already happened for Garrison, resident of Tara Hall.

“If more and more people become less interested, the photographer could end up just taking photos. And I don’t want that to happen, photography means something it’s kind of like art only with a camera,” said Garrison.

At the end of the program the “Cameras for Kids Foundation” organizes an art exhibit with all the boys’ photographs.

The students are also invited to share the story behind each picture.

Georgetown Times news partner WBTW-TV 13 contributed to this report.

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