Teen photographers document other teens’ Jewish involvement with their cameras on Jews of Metro Detroit website.
From high above the Detroit skyline or down low at street level, the teen photographers behind the scenes of the website Jews of Metro Detroit have been hard at work creating new content each week that documents the lives of area teens involved with their Jewish youth groups to share them with the world.
Teens like Aaron Rudman, Ryan Goodman and Jonah Rifkin, all of West Bloomfield, interview, photograph, and then edit and create content about their Jewish peers. Through their work, they get to better know their Jewish peers around town, thus strengthening the future of Detroit’s Jewish community, say their youth advisers at three Reform synagogues: Temple Israel and Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield, and Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township.
Jews of Metro Detroit was launched in the fall of 2018 and funded by a grant from the Schulman Millennium Fund.
Rudman will head to the University of Michigan this fall. Though not religious, he said his involvement with Jews of Metro Detroit has deepened his appreciation and insight into the local Jewish community while improving his craft in photography.
An aspiring film director, his favorite project for the website, his last as a high school senior, was interviewing and photographing his friend, a musician, in a photo shoot among all his instruments.
Goodman, a student at Groves High School, was always interested in photography, a skill he learned by watching his father. For the website, Goodman has photographed teens involved with everything from volunteering at Cass Community Social Services to starting school environmental clubs to combat climate change.
When he isn’t taking photos for the website, Goodman heads into the city with his Canon camera to the Dequindre Cut or the Eastern Market to take photos of objects most of us walk by without giving a second thought.
“I am interested in taking photos of an old toy someone left on the ground or sewer grates from a unique angle right after it rains,” Goodman said. “As one of the three photographers of the Jews of Metro Detroit website, I try to photograph teens in a location that fits into the story of what they are passionate about and what they are trying to accomplish.”’
He keeps an Instagram for his shoots: r.goodman_photography. When using Instagram, Goodman advises his peers to slow down, put thought into a photo and ease off the selfies.
“Most kids will angle their phone in a certain way for looks when taking a selfie but other than that, they are not looking for a quality shot,” said Goodman, who says he has more artistic goals in his photography. “I do believe that platforms like Instagram are useful and positive when it comes to sharing photography to develop and expand their following.”
Rifkin, a member of Shir Shalom’s Youth group, uses his Mavic PRO drone to fly high over his favorite stomping grounds like Birmingham or around Detroit. Rifkin has always wanted to fly and using his drone helps him get a bird’s eye view of his favorite places without ever leaving the ground.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always had constant interest in aviation,” Rifkin said in a statement for the website.” In fact, my dream is to one day be a pilot. I’m excited to tell the stories of fellow Jewish high school kids in my community.”