about the tel-hi project

HomeworkAs a graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in English Literature, my background in writing poetry prepared me more for photography than I realized, as I had been “painting with words” for years. As soon as I put my husband's Canon SLR to my eye under his careful instruction a couple of years ago, it was as if at long last I heard a decisive click, Yes!

Senior CoffeeAlthough I was at first struck at the scope of the project in taking photographs for Tel-Hi, I never doubted my ability because I've always faced any challenge head on. In this case, through a series of visits over a three month period, I shot thousands of digital images capturing various aspects of Tel-Hi's Senior Program, Childhood Development Preschool Program, After School Academy, Expanded Learning Program, North Beach Place Teen Center, and Community Organizing and Planning. And I quickly felt more at ease than I ever could have imagined moving in and amongst the groups of individuals that made up Tel-Hi.

RunningEarly on in this project the “Faces of Tel-Hi” theme began to emerge. Rather than shooting the static photojournalistic shots of people in their environment I found that I couldn't resist getting caught up in the energetic mood of the staff, the easy smiles and the conversation offered by the seniors, the bright laughter and joy of the children. I soon found my hard drive filled to capacity with beaming faces and I knew I was onto something special; something that needed to be shown. I wanted to share the captured sense of “coming home” that I felt every time I passed through the doors of Tel-Hi;the wonderful sense of belonging I have  known here, whether it be shown in a picture of old friends chatting during a midday meal, a good stretch during an exercise class, a snack break while working on a homework assignment, or just a pair of happy smiles while coming down a slide at the playground.

GuitarI know that I am forever changed because I now have another place to call home; another family waiting to welcome me when I walk through the doors of Tel-Hi. And my hope is to leave the viewer with that same shared feeling of community when looking at these photographs.

PJ Taylor, Photographer

All images and content Copyright PJ Taylor Photography, 2009