Middle school yearbook is a yearlong course open to grades seven and eight. During first semester, students develop writing, photography, and design skills essential to publication and during second semester, students produce the yearbook. Yearbook students also get to see their school in a new way, attending concerts, assemblies, jamborees and sporting events to record highlights for the yearbook.
Recently, the class hosted a photography exhibit, inviting teachers and students to see original work and chat about the process. Three grade eight students – Ariel, Emily and Ashley – offered to share their work here too.
Ariel calls the above photo a coincidence. She opened a window to take outside photos, faced her camera down, and captured an empty playground. Ariel believes we should interact with art, and that we are allowed to interpret images differently. What do you think or wonder when you look at the reflections, angels, pops of color? One day in class when students were experimenting with their cameras, Ariel took a picture of Mr. Johnston onstage. The light and shadow caught her attention.
Photography is capturing moments you want to keep. – Ariel
One photo Emily likes is of Ariel at last year’s winter band concert. This photo illustrates depth of field by focusing on Ariel while the foreground and background blur. Emily also likes the surrealist photo she created using a mirror to reflect another student’s artwork. She was first drawn to the red color and then played around with how to show the art in a new way.
While all three girls may edit a photo, it’s the set up that tests their knowledge. Emily’s “Yearbook” photo was technically challenging. She worked with a friend who spelled out the word with a phone flashlight. Emily used a slow shutter speed and low aperture setting to catch only the light.
One of Ashley’s favorite photos was taken from her apartment. She kept the shutter open for thirty seconds to create the effect of trailing car lights on the highway. Ashley also thinks about the metaphor a photo might offer. Her picture of colored pencils displays her understanding of depth of field, rule of thirds, and breaking the pattern. One blue pencil sticks out and Ashley likes what that can say to middle school students: it’s okay to stick out. It’s okay to break the pattern.
Ashleigh Peat and Gary Johnston teach MS yearbook.