Lens on Danielle Evans’ Dreams

By Dionne Hill

One of the first things someone will notice about Danielle Evans is her rambunctious and sassy personality.  She is often the center of attention- whether in class, in the cafeteria, or during extracurricular activities.  What my project showcases is that in Danielle’s case, the old cliché is true: you can’t judge a book by its cover.  After spending several shoots with Danielle, and meeting her family, I began to develop a more holistic viewpoint of this young girl.  What I found most surprising was how accomplished, focused, and determined she is to succeed.  Beneath the talkative and spirited young lady is a passionate, thoughtful, confident, and smart 8th grader.  Whether she is playing the clarinet, going to volleyball games or cheerleading practice, singing in a choir, or participating in college preparatory programs, Danielle Evans has goals and is laser-focused on accomplishing them.  I have high hopes for Danielle Evans who wants to be a lawyer.  She’s got the personality and confidence to pull it off.  Her mother confessed that Lakewood Montessori has been the best educational opportunity for Danielle to be challenged intellectually, enabling her to be better prepared to face the rigors of high school and later college.  Danielle has met this challenge, is keeping pace, and is doing very well.  She fully embraces Lakewood’s leadership tenets of self, community and academics.

My lens was on Danielle Evans for three months.  In that time, I was not only able to vastly improve my understanding of basic photography, but also see a new generation of children being educated in a way far superior than what I recall of my own middle school education, which was much more impactful.  It was eye-opening and a nice break from my reality of being a graduate student at Duke University.  It reminded me of the very simple tenets in life.  Seek the best opportunities, throw yourself into the experience, and allow yourself to dream.  I am honored that Danielle Evans’ parents gave permission for me to turn a lens on her life and allowing me into their home.  I learned more than how to take a great photo this semester; I learned how to dive into an experience, follow the action, and to anchor and position myself to best capture just the right opportunity.  Thank you Dani!