By creating photographic portraits of themselves and their surroundings, students from the Boston Arts Academy and Winchester High School have been exploring their sense of self and place in a unique collaborative program at the Griffin Museum.
In its ninth year, the 5-month program connects approximately 40 students – 20 from each school – with each other and with professional photographers. The goal is to increase students’ awareness of the art of photography, as well as how being from different programs and different schools affects their approach to the same project.
The students were given the task of creating a body of work that communicates a sense of self and place. They were encouraged to explore the importance of props, the environment, facial expression, metaphor, and body language in portrait photography.
Students met with Edie Bresler, a photographer, educator and resident of Somerville. Bresler described her artistic path in creating bodies of work and honed her focus on the lottery system. Watertown resident, photographer Stella Johnson talked with students about her photography projects in Mexico, Cameroon and Nicaragua.
Students also met with Sam Sweezy, a professional fine art and commercial photographer and educator who lives in Arlington, MA. He has exhibited at major photography venues including the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.
Alison Nordstrom, former curator of the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., and Sweezy gathered with students for a group discussion of the work and a final edit of the exhibition.
“In collaboration and through creative discourse these students have grown,” said Paula Tognarelli, executive director of the Griffin Museum. “We are very pleased to be able to share this year’s students’ work. We thank the mentors for providing a very meaningful experience for the students. We also want to thank the Griffin Foundation and the Murphy Foundation, whose continued commitment to this project made learning possible. To paraphrase Elliot Eisner, the arts enabled these students to have an experience that they could have from no other source.’’
The results are on exhibit in PhotoSynthesis IX in the Main Gallery of the Griffin Museum June 12 – June 29. An opening reception is Wednesday, June 18, 7-8:30 p.m. It is open to all.