The Life of the Party

By James Ding

Having taught public school children and embraced photography as a hobby, I knew from the very start that I would want to join Susie Post-Rust’s documentary photography course based at George Watts Montessori School. And when Susie told me about Raushaun, a bright but mischievous, “life-of-the-party” kid, I knew that he would be the perfect subject for me.

Working with Raushaun, his family, and the entire community at George Watts has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my college career. Sometimes college seniors, in pursuing a light at the end of a tunnel, lose track of what it feels like just to be a kid again. The liveliness and the learning of Raushaun and his classmates placed me in a fourth-grade setting that I, too, once occupied. Through a camera lens, I chronicled their process of discovery, but in doing so also rediscovered my own passions for being a carefree kid and for working with children.

I want to thank Mr. Mike Rogers, his class, and the entire Watts community for welcoming me and my camera. I also want to thank Raushaun’s family -- his mother Cynthia, grandmother, great-grandmother, and siblings -- for letting me witness and capture their intimate moments at home. Lastly and most importantly, I want to thank Raushaun for inviting me to his party.