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Untitled By Sage Millen, 13 (Vancouver, Canada)

A note from William

What a gorgeous spring day it is here in Santa Cruz, California! I hope that as March gives way to April that all of your gardens are at least beginning their spring re-birth.

And, with the coming of spring, I'd like to announce that our spring session classes—beginning April 23—are up and ready on Eventbrite! Once again, we are offering two writing classes—mine, Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific, and Conner Bassett's, Saturdays at 11 AM Pacific—as well as Book Club with Maya Mahony Saturday April 30 and Saturday May 28 at 9 AM Pacific. We're sorry not to offer a short form filmmaking class with Isidore Bethel this go-round, but hope to once again offer it in the future. In the meantime, please watch some of the amazing short films our students made in the fall session of 2020.

In terms of the behind-the-scenes activity at Stone Soup, these last few weeks find us in a lull. Projects are in process. Our website revisions are coming along. Sophia Opitz, our fabulous administrator, and I had a very good meeting on Friday with our web developers. We will start seeing website changes go live next week. Mostly, Sophia and I have been working on the educator pages getting the new curriculum material in shape preparatory to the launch of our site license beta testing program in a couple weeks.

I'd like to talk about Sage's fabulous photograph showing two kids reading Stone Soup under a blanket. As part of our website revision we are making sure that all photographs on the site are by kids. And, I will say, what a difference that is making! Our Stone Soup photographers have a creative flair that sets their work apart. If you are a photographer age 13 or younger and would like to be part of our pool of web photographers, please write to sophia@stonesoup.com.

Weekend project: I want you to look at this double portrait. It is a photograph in which we, the observers, share a private moment with these two girls. Unlike most portraits in which the subject is looking directly at the camera, the girls in this photograph are focused on the issue Stone Soup they are reading—December 2021, to be exact! There is clearly lots I could say about how this photograph is framed and lit—the black background and gentle foreground lighting frame the girls to perfection—but in the interest of keeping things simple, I want you to focus on their eyes, on the direction of their gaze.

I am not asking you today to compose a picture with careful lighting, as we see here, but what I am asking you to do is take a portrait of someone in the midst of an action—someone doing something alone or with someone else.

What I want you to capture is that look where the person is focused on something else. Practicing, reading, cooking, drawing, typing. Doing something on their phone. What I want you to do is focus on the eyes. I want you to take a photograph in which the eyes of the person you are photographing are focused on what they are doing, not on you. There is one kind of intensity when the person you are photographing is looking directly into your camera—so that when we look at the picture they are looking at us. There is another kind of intensity when you capture the look on someone's face who is absorbed in what they are doing, and that is the intensity I want you to go after this weekend with your phone or camera.

As always, if you feel especially good about your photograph, please submit to us via Submittable.

Until next time,

Grace Zhuang

From the Stone Soup Blog
March 2022


By Grace Zhuang, 6 (Vienna, VA)

Winds are running around
Telling everyone the good news,
“Spring is coming!”
“Spring is coming!”

The little delphinium
Looking around
Looking for spring.

She did not know that
She herself is the spring.

To read more from the March Issue, click here!

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.

Stone Soup's advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.

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