Robert Belcher started the photography program at Mortimer Jordan High School in a closet, with 2 enlargers, 5 cameras, 12 students and a bucket of water. Over the last 8 years, the photography program has grown both in enrollment and curriculum. Originally created to handle 12-15 students, the class sizes average 28-30 students, and class offerings have grown from Photo 1 to include photo 2 and 3.
Students begin with black and white film photography learning the basics of camera technique and darkroom procedures. The main focus throughout the course is “seeing” what is in front of the lens and how to “communicate” with the viewer. Students then move into digital photography and post production on the computer. In level 3, students are allowed a little more creative freedom, but concept, technique, and production become much more strenuous. Students shoot imagery with intent of hanging in shows/competitions/galleries, so creativity and experimentation is of great importance. Students get to work with non-traditional printing methods and presentation (I.e. transfer, non-traditional substrates, collage/compositing) and are encouraged to redefine what photography means to them.
Over the last four years, we have moved to a new building with an actual darkroom and have had two state winners and this year we had a district “Best of Show” winner who is off to state to compete there. We are very proud of our students and our school, and look forward to the all the future brings.
The Monthly Member Spotlight on our website is a great way to share stories of all the awesome work going on in art classrooms across the state of Alabama and to advocate the importance of visual arts education. If you would like to participate, please email high quality photos of yourself, your classroom, and student work samples as well as the name and location of your school and a short biography. Please include descriptions for the photos and a 1-2 paragraph summary of some of your recent accomplishments in your classroom and within the larger art education community. Please address content to: LindsayMouyal, firstname.lastname@example.org