The Art of the Photograph: Students Capture Life Not Selfies

By: Cheyann Peters

Art has been around for a long time, but it was during the 1930’s that photography became a popular new style of art. Newnan High School is one of many schools in America which offers photography as an elective for seniors.

Mrs. Heather Jennings has been a teacher for 17 years. She started teaching in 1998 and has been teaching art at Newnan since 2010. In addition to teaching Photography she also teaches Visual Arts 1, Visual Arts 2 and Painting.

Before becoming a teacher Mrs. Jennings went to the University of West Georgia (UWG), where she got her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a double concentration in photography and ceramics. In addition to having a B.F.A., she also has a K-5 teaching certificate and is certified to teach K-12 art.

“I set out to be a professional photographer but ended up teaching, and I love it,” Mrs. Jennings noted as she explained how she became a teacher.

Mrs. Jenning’s Photography class is available to seniors who have taken two or more art electives. She explained the reason behind the prerequisites, “the students have to be very mature and responsible when working in the darkroom with chemicals, and they also have to take most of their photographs outside of the classroom on their own.”

It is also recommended that students have their own 35mm camera to shoot black and white film that the students will then process themselves in the darkroom.

Aside from taking photographs, students also learn about the history of photography, create projects using photos, learn correct exposure times, learn darkroom development and how to build their own pinhole cameras from coffee tins.

“The process of learning how to develop a photo in the darkroom and the anticipation of waiting to see how it looks when it’s finished is really exciting,” Haley Rowles, NHS senior enrolled in Photography class, said.

This class is also really good to take if you are looking to become a professional photographer, or if you just take photographs and want to get better. Students have the opportunity to enter their photos in various competitions throughout the community through many different opportunities including the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts, the Coweta County Fair and Coweta County School System events. Students’ artwork is also displayed in the main lobby at Newnan High.

April Rogers, NHS senior taking Photography, said, “it really makes you appreciate digital photography and the hard work that is required for developing photographs.”

April Rogers, NHS senior, stands with a pinhole camera and photographs she took in Photography Class.

Photography is a great class to take if you are looking for a different way to express yourself artistically because of the freedom that is given when taking photographs. Students are given a broad subject and can choose their own things, so that no two photos are ever the same.

“It’s fun to see the different perspective of other students. One of our subjects was on bottles and everyone got a different type of bottle to photograph,” Morgan Lichty, NHS senior in Photography, said.

Students in Mrs. Jennings class have learned that photography is more than just pointing a camera and pressing a button.

“There are a lot of technicalities behind photography. You have to be able to adapt and change to create a successful photograph” Haley Rowles, NHS senior in Photography, commented. Haley plans on becoming a marine life photographer and applying what she has learned in the class to her career.

Mrs. Jennings is able to help students understand and develop a true love for taking and processing photographs. “Photography and painting are my favorite mediums, and I feel like I get to teach what’s in my heart to my students,” Mrs. Jennings explained.

If you like the fine arts, want to learn in depth about photography or even want to learn professional tricks on how to take great selfies, consider signing up for Mrs. Jennings photography class next year.