Last semester, grade 7 students honed their photography skills in a photography elective taught by middle division history teacher Lisa Gordon. The course, which covered both traditional camera and iPhone photography, enhanced students’ technical know-how and artistic creativity. One of the elective’s main objectives was to help each student discover and refine their unique photographic style.

Students began by learning basic photography “rules,” like taking photos with no clutter, and using leading lines to draw viewers’ eyes to a specific focal point. They practiced editing using advanced computer-based photo editing tools, and learned how to apply the examples provided by professional photographers to their own projects. Students also learned how to participate in peer critiques, thoughtfully reviewing their classmates’ photos and offering positive and constructive feedback.

Over the course of the first semester, the difficulty level of assignments increased, and eventually students tackled complex projects like food photography and shooting for black and white.

Grade 7 photography student Brogan Dolata explained her process and goals in her class artist statement: “When I take photos, I look for colorful things that stand out or that I can focus on. I try to make them captivating to the eye. I enjoy editing them to make them more colorful and brighter, but I also enjoy shooting in black and white to really capture the contrast. My goal for photography is to get better at it, and to use it when I need to.”

Ms. Gordon observes that photography transfers well to a remote learning environment. “That’s the beautiful thing about photography: it is portable and so easy to access now, you can use it to share your perspectives with the world.”  She praised her students’ progress as artists: “I watched each student’s style begin to emerge as their confidence grew, but I think I am most impressed by their creativity, willingness to experiment, and openness to seeing the world in new ways wherever they are. A couple of parents have shared that they like that it gets their kids up and moving around, too!”

You can check out a virtual gallery of the grade 7 students’ work here.