A Different Perspective: Middle School gets a Photography Course

October 26, 2017

Culture, Photos

Gage Toepper

“Sunrise” by Gage Toepper, an 8th grader in Ms. Smith’s photography class.

By Hannah Levandowski

The ASK Academy started a middle school photography class for eighth grade scholars this year, directed by Project Manager Bonnie Smith.

Smith has had a passion for photography for years, and last year, ASK gave her the chance to take the NM state highly qualified test for art, which allowed her to teach a photography class. She is now teaching two, year-long photography classes.

Smith is educating the scholars  about how to work the different settings on the cameras, and how to edit a photo on a program called Gimp. She wants scholars be able to be more knowledgeable about different lighting and how to use the camera settings to get the photos they desire. The scholars will be doing a variety of projects such as portraits, landscapes and action photography. She uses a  photography textbook and the Internet for supplemental information.

For the photography class, scholars need a digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera and a USB thumb drive. Smith had some old photography equipment left over from the small photography shop she owned in 2014 called A Thousand Words  that the scholars are able to use. Still, she needed more cameras for the class. To solve this problem, she started a Donors Choose campaign and received $1,743, which helped her buy three Canon cameras and a wireless photo printer for the class. 

Scholars from Smith‘s photography class said that they are enjoying the class. They are learning a great deal about cameras and how to get a good photo with the perfect lighting. Kaleiah Gonzalez said that she likes the class so much that she wants it in high school. 

“This class explains all of the best settings, lightings, and locations to take the most creative photo,” said Evangeline Hubbard. The scholars are looking forward to mastering the different settings on the camera to get the photograph they want.

Smith said she loves teaching photography and wishes that she could  teach it all day long. She has some words of advice for seventh grade scholars who may be interested in taking photography next year. “Photography can be a hobby, interest, or passion for the rest of your life.  Learning to see the extraordinary in everyday ordinary subjects is an art that a photographer is able to capture and then share for generations to come.”

She is currently planning a field trip for the photography class to go to the Jemez mountains and get pictures of the fall leaves.

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