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Hi! My name is Amanda Xiong, and I am the Expressive Arts Intern for the Child and Adolescent Center (CAC). At CAC, Northwest Passage’s clinical assessment center, I’ve had the great opportunity of mentoring and teaching photography with students ranging from ages 6-17. I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Studio Arts from St. Catherine University. This allowed me to combine both of my passions: youth development and photography. My hope for this internship is to help youth build self-confidence by creating self-expression through photography. Students are placed in CAC for 30 days as a part of their treatment. During their time here, students are able to develop their photographic style and apply general photography techniques such as lighting, subjects, and the rule of thirds. Most importantly, they are allowed to capture a moment expressing their time in assessment and reflect on their journey or a memory, using photography and nature. Each student is unique and creative. They come from different backgrounds with different stories and are able to capture the beauty of Northwestern Wisconsin within their 30 days. Here are a few photographs from our fall collection. horizontalline

The Rusted Root

The Rusted Root, Daniel

The root is the boot of Wisconsin’s past
It’s what feeds that grass nutrients and helps produce cheese
So, please listen hear and don’t forget to breathe
It’s what helps develop a leaf
From chloroplast to chlorophyll
And when fall arrives the roots stand still
It is the season of death, the forests filled with the dead handing from their branches, and a time for second chances
I am here at the Northwest Passage with a head full of dangling ideas that illustrate the new beginning
I sit in my room waiting for Monday’s to come… while skimming through my life
And I realize regret is my one of my many wifes
So I ponder on and reassemble the events that lead me here
It was one peer who came about and revived my soul from an empty hole
I recognize their traits and develop the time to recollect
So, I sit
I am angry!
The room is full of exasperating pain
Therefore, I stain my fingers with the dust from the keyboard
While I hoard these racing thoughts in my head
I then purchase a ticket to heaven to get away from hell
The thought of life is dull and my heart doesn’t even skip the sound of church bells
The hope is gone and so I am
On the greyhound
Seattle bound
I am in the middle of my ride
Then my faith begins to slide
When the cops arrive
My thought of heaven is met with seclusion
Of, a cold prison cell of the back of the cop car
My head is spinning
I am full of embarrassment and full of worry
The anxiety ridden thoughts are met with a two week stay in a confined room
This place is full of patients from troubled souls to physiologically damage brains
My journey there is fill of empty hearted phone calls
I can’t even shower in my own private stall
Then one day I am rescued
My doc lets me free
And my hunger for love is comforted by Chicago deep dish
From there on out I swim in and out of reality like a fish
Then, I end up at my uncle’s and I stay there for a week or two
My heart now has turned from blue to red with a sliver of hope
I am going to Wisconsin the place of cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and land of many lakes
But, most importantly Northwest Passage where I make time to heal


The Barren Grass, Daniel

I picked this picture because of the landscape of the photograph. In this photo there is concrete and long grass with the sun brightening the picture. This reflects the mood I was feeling at the time which was happy and calm. It also reflects the weather during the day which was great! It was sunny, breezy, cool, and autumn like.  The photograph represents the barren landscape of Northern Wisconsin with the harsh weather conditions too. The concrete mainly illustrates this because of the rough feel and the lack of physical features to block the wind. The grass exhibits the rich fertile soil of Wisconsin. The soil is famous for growing nutrients and supporting life to develop the famous Wisconsin cheese!!! Therefore, the picture contradicts itself by having a barren landscape feel while containing the ability to have the grass in the photograph which gives the picture a happy mood. It also gives it an earthy feel too!

The Mushroom

The Mushroom, Jackson

I took this photo because the gills in the mushroom remind me how everything has hidden beauty that isn’t always visible on the surface, just like I had to look under this mushroom to find the beauty in the gills. This mushroom wouldn’t look like much from a top view as you walk by, but if you take a look underneath, the beauty of nature is revealed.

The Scarlet Trio

The Scarlet Trio, Jackson

These small little leaves, although seemingly insignificant, are quite beautiful. A lot of people in this world never stop to notice the small things in life. I think that it is these small things that are most important, for without all the little things in life, not so different from this little group of leaves, you can’t make the big picture. I chose this picture because I feel that people need to stop and admire the little things in life more often.

Half and Half

Half and Half, Marcus

This picture is cool to me because I like how half of the rocks are in the sunlight and half are not in the sunlight. I took this picture with my class at Northwest Passage. I like the different color of rocks and the different shapes of them. This picture reminds of a dark day and a light day because of the dark side and the light side the dark side would be a bad day and the light side would be a good day.

The Sunlight Behind the Leaves

The Sunlight Behind the Leaves, Marcus

The reason I picked this picture is because it is cool and I like how the sun comes in from the back and hits the leaves. The sun reminds me of a happy day because the sun is shining down upon us. That day was a happy day for me until I found out that I wasn’t going home so then it became a cloudy day to me. I took this picture when our class went taking pictures on grounds at Northwest Passage. I picked this background because of the orange colored leaves so these oranges reminded me of the leaves. The leaves are almost the same color as a pumpkin. I like how where the sun hits the leaves it makes the leaves look darker and where the sun doesn’t hit it is a lighter shade of orange.

The Lone Berry

The Lone Berry, Kylie

This Picture stood out to me only because it reminds me of myself. The way it hangs there, it’s almost like its saying, “I’m all alone, and I really don’t care. Because I believe that I am strong, stronger than if I weren’t alone.” The berry is alone, because it feels like no one in this world wants it. Like no matter how hard he tried not to fall off the branch, to actually be somebody, he was and has always been nobody. And if he tried to do the good things that people asked of him, then maybe, just maybe he could finally be somebody. But, it seems like when he tries to not fall off of the branch, when he tries to be good, the bad comes back twice as hard and fast. But, in the midst of his loneliness, He knows that somewhere in this gigantic world, somebody loves him. Somebody out there cares. That He’s finally, not alone. And he’s not! The branch, its supporting him. He was never alone. All this time he’s been crying and focusing on him being alone, he never really was. He’s always had someone, somewhere that has always had his back, has always cared for him. And now, he can be happy.

Untitled 1 Clay

Untitled, Clay

I picked this picture that I took of a beautiful Black Eyed Suzann. The reason why I took this picture is because it looked like it wanted to be known; I had noticed that the flower has curls on the leaves.

Sadness is bad…Happiness is good…but I’ve got both inside me…deep down inside my feelings are protected…protected by my heart which cannot be corrected by the badness around me…

Rust and Decay

Rust and Decay, Gavan

I chose this picture because I just found myself infatuated by the sight of it. The rawness of it is beautiful in an ugly sort of way.
It’s almost a graveyard where things that once brought joy to people come to die and rust away.
It’s sad really.
The way something that was used to bring pleasure and relaxation could just be thrown away.

Moss is fuzzy

Moss is Fuzzy, Moss is Soft, Trey

I like this picture because it shows me what moss actually looks like. I never knew it was like a bunch of little of vines. What else does it hold? Does it have a bunch of little bugs that run away when they see humans? Does it move every time you come near? Is it as sharp as needles when the wind blows and as soft as silk when you touch it? I think moss is cool because it can grow almost anywhere as long as it has water.  It kind of looks like it is an underwater picture because the moss looks like sea weed. Maybe the little bugs are not bugs at all…



Red, Elizabeth

Red is a rose
With deep scarlet petals-
The flower of desire.

Red is a ruby
A raging fire
Out of control.

Blood is red
The color of pain
The scent of war.

Red is a shout
Red is adrenaline
Anger, victory, power.

The roar of a lion
Loud and bold:
It screams to be noticed.

Red is passion
An intense flame inside
Hard to control.

Red is the color of power and love.

Untitled 1 Skylar

Untitled, Skylar

The reason why I like this picture is because I liked the way it looks. I like how it was by itself in the grass. Lonely forever. Although, the flower only lasts for a short period of time, I absolutely love the purple and pink of the absolutely beautiful wild flower. The green leaves are very pretty too. As you can see, some of the pedals on this magnificent wild flower are gone. Probably dry and crumpled on the ground. Death is kissing the flower.

The Broken Antler

The Broken Antler, James

When I saw the buck I decided to chase after him to get this picture. I was the first one to see him. The buck might be missing an antler but it didn’t seem to bother him. He could have been bullied by other bucks because he has one good antler and one broken antler. Looking through his eyes, it was something I will never forget because I felt a connection with him. Like he lost a fight and he won’t let it bother him and I’m the same way. He doesn’t care what people think of him. If other bucks like him he’s ok with it and if they don’t like him he’ll just brush it off. That’s the way I am too.

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