Developing skills

Photography students start the year with film projects

Jennifer Pereyra, Reporter

Photography 2 is working to develop their first roll of film for the year and printing in the darkroom. The class creates a series of portfolios that address a wide variety of photographic concepts and skills. 

Their first roll was called ‘Glorious Objects.’ Students were tasked with photographing mundane or everyday objects using lighting, composition, props, and more to glorify and elevate the look of the objects in the pictures. Some students have already moved on to their second roll, or are using digital cameras to create their second body of work, titled ‘seek & find’.‘Seek and Find’ has to do with focus, light and shade, centrally isolated subjects and forced perspective. 

The first portfolio had to be 35mm film and darkroom printing. After that, they can choose between a film or digital. For film, students use a manual single-lens reflex (SLR) camera with a 400 ISO 35mm film that they manually load. Once pictures are taken, they reel the film in the dark, guided only by their sense of touch, so as to not expose the film. 

Students develop film by following an 8 step process. Then they take their film into the darkroom and use enlargers to print images onto photo sensitive paper (variable contrast, resin coated photo paper). 

Photography teacher Jody Spriggs mentioned that this process can be very complex. “It’s an extensive process, but this process allows them to have great control, as they are able to do all the editing physically in the darkroom that people are familiar with digitally,” Spriggs said.

Throughout the portfolios they also complete research on photographic topics of their choice, as well as brainstorming for portfolio ideas, peer critiques and ‘ponderings’, which require them to answer questions about photography, like what is the difference between a fine arts photography and a snapshot.

Kathryn Hosey, in Photography 2, is a well-rounded art and photography student because she combines the concepts she is working on in multiple art courses. 

Hosey said, “In AP Studio Art I focus mostly on portraits there. I’ve done that with photography and also my fibers class; I mostly do portraits with everything.”

While the film process is very technical and a very complex process, many students find the physical quality direct and authentic. The images tend to have a sincerity and rich value quality unavailable in digital photography.