Lauren was a high school sophomore with a talent for photography and interest in the power of storytelling. As the descendant of a Holocaust survivor, Lauren wanted to create a project that would preserve and share these important stories for future generations.
Learn effective interviewing techniques to document the stories of different Holocaust survivors and their families in their own words
Hone her photography skills to capture intimate moments in her subject's lives and build out her body of work
Mentorship extension goal: To compile, edit, and publish a book that combines interviews, photographs, and personal narratives
Lauren's mentor was an award-winning photographer, filmmaker and educator who teaches at NYU and The New School. In addition to teaching courses on photography and photojournalism, she specializes in transmedia skills and craft, which combines various media to create nuanced stories.
In addition to learning the basic skills of photography and interviewing technique necessary to complete her book, Lauren also learned how to arrange pictures on a page, create maps and make family trees. She also became well-versed in publishing software like InDesign and Blurb, an online publishing platform, while learning about transmedia practices, or how to combine different media for immersive, multidimensional storytelling.
In the first phase of her mentorship, Lauren learned fundamental photojournalistic skills, which she used while interviewing and photographing Holocaust survivors and their families, and gathered historical and family photographs for context. After gathering her content, Lauren decided to extend her mentorship in order to realize a larger scale project, and worked with her mentor to create and publish a book that wove these narratives together.
Lauren's final project was a published copy of her book, which preserves the stories of five different families of Holocaust survivors.
My Hugo mentorship helped me grow in many ways. First, my photography skills greatly improved... [my mentor] gave me very important constructive criticism on how to tell better stories through my photographs by suggesting different frames, angles and lighting. I have since become more comfortable using my camera and have experimented with layering photos. Additionally, I have gained a stronger voice through the book writing process. My hope is to pass on what I have gained, encouraging others to write about what they are passionate about, in particular to record their family's stories. Finally, I learned a great deal about journalism, including the interview process, how to effectively portray a story and how to obtain and capture photos, as well as accessing historical archives and documents. My work made me realize the power of storytelling, and I hope through my life to continue sharing my story, my family’s story, and to inspire people to share their own stories so they will not be forgotten.
I think the most meaningful part of my project was the excitement and amazement of the families who participated. For them, to see their own family stories in writing was a real gift. They were all so appreciative and complimentary. In fact, one of the featured participants commented that she “read [her] grandmother's story and [I] captured it perfectly”. As a journalist there could be no greater compliment. Additionally, it was so meaningful to share my experience of writing this book with others. I've since shared my experience on a panel for UJA (United jewish Appeal), a panel for Jewish Teen, was interviewed for the AFIPO (American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic) and was also interviewed for Fresh Ink for Teens Magazine, which is part of the New York Jewish Week.
[My mentor] was incredible; [she was] patient, caring and an excellent educator. Over the course of 12 months during my Hugo mentorship, [she] guided me throughout the process of creating my book... [teaching] me the fundamental skills I'd needed to create my book, starting with photography and interview skills and culminating with the technical requirements of creating the finished product. It was illuminating to learn how the book making process really happens, and to realize I was capable of creating an important collection of Holocaust stories myself.
Clarification of which academic areas interests her
Clarification of a career path
Enhancement of her ability to problem solve
Appreciation for the value of her own contributions
Accomplishing a personal goal
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