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Photography students tell powerful stories of BV Family Treatment Court participants


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Thirteen BVU advanced photography students spent spring semester creating multi-media stories documenting the challenge of three Buena Vista County families who struggled with substance abuse but overcame obstacles that ranged from alcohol to methamphetamines to hold their families together.

On assignment with Buena Vista County Family Treatment Court (FTC), the 13 BVU digital media storytellers photographed Buena Vista County court proceedings, substance abuse treatment sessions, client home life and the graduation ceremonies of 4 BV County residents who completed year-long treatment programs working with BV County Judge Mary Timko and program coordinator Jessica Wagar.

The subjects were Brenda, a divorced mother of three nearly grown children, Patrick and Denise, and parents of five school-aged children, and Daniel and Noy, parents of three children, one a toddler. The BVU storytellers spent a semester getting to know the BV County adults whose graduation from Family Treatment Court on Wednesday, March 6 was the highlight 2013. They crafted their multi-media stories around lengthy DSLR video interviews with the families.

The multi-media storytellers were: April Allen, Grace Bodey, Aaron Burns, Keyla Calles Sosa, Tyson-Jay Domingo, Bryan Hays, Scott Locati, Tyler McDanel, Paige Miller, Sonia Mugabo, Katie Neppl, Krystal Schulte and Ling Yang. The 13 organized into teams assigned to the three families to collect still photos and video of family life at home as well as formal audio-video interviews and studio portraits of families at FTC graduation. At times, the assignment seemed daunting for its own obstacles including the mastering of new media technologies and the difficulty of connecting students with busy families. Most of the 13 had never used dslr cameras to capture professional video or audio. Few had ever used Adobe Premiere to create multi-media stories from such disparate parts. Deadlines came and went, stories were—in several instances—completed minutes before final presentation to FTC court officials on Thursday, May 23rd…the very last day of spring semester.

The accumulated media materials—images from subject’s scrapbooks, as well as images, audio and video collected by teams of students assigned to interview and document the three families—resulted in 12 Adobe Premiere productions of 10 to 15 minutes. Here are three representative stories, one completed on each family:

Family Treatment Court: Patrick & Denise, by Aaron Burns

Family Treatment Court: Daniel & Noy, by Grace Bodey

Family Treatment Court: Brenda, by Scott Locati

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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University
Photography students tell powerful stories of BV Family Treatment Court participants