PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The newest crop of photographers from Wintergreen Art Center’s Photography for Beginners class capped off their hard work with a showcase that captured various styles and creative inspirations.
During the First Friday Art Walk on Aug. 3, instructor Shaye McHatten welcomed back her 22 students and their families to celebrate their best photos and reminisce about their favorite moments captured on camera. This is the second year that McHatten, a college junior, has taught photography as part of Wintergreen’s six-week summer program. One class was held for students ages 8 and under while a second class included students ages 11 and under.
“I love teaching these kids photography because it’s a style of art that many of them have never tried before,” McHatten said. “We do a lot of different activities so that photography becomes more fun and easier for them to understand instead of just having them stand still and take photos.”
The students used each other as models during two of the most popular activities: “Leading Lines” and “Action Shots.” For “Leading Lines,” students took a field trip to the bridge near Riverside Park and shot photos of their friends while learning how to focus a photo around their chosen subject while considering lighting and composition. “Action Shots” was another favorite lesson among many students because they took photos of each other blowing bubbles and throwing confetti into the air.
All students got to choose which photos they featured in the showcase and many said that the class gave them an opportunity to make new friends and discover a new artistic passion that they want to continue.
“I really like flowers and I chose this photo because of how the white petals contrast with the yellow ones,” said Maddy Waugh, 10, while showing off her photo of a paper flower. “The class has made me want to take more photos.”
Flowers also were a favorite subject for Peia Grant-Boxton, 7, and she very much enjoyed taking action photos. Grant-Boxton also took summer art classes in videography and choreographed dance.
“Photography is really fun,” she said. “I learned that I like taking photos.”
This year’s students have benefited from 20 cameras that were donated by Presque Isle High School’s Regional Career and Technical Center. McHatten noted that having cameras of the same model available to the students has made them even more excited about exploring the many technical and creative aspects of photography.
In the end, she hopes that students walk away from the class inspired to pick up a camera and snap photos that reflect their own views of the world.
“I had one kid say to me before, ‘You know, I’ve never picked up a camera before, but I think I did good for my first try,’” McHatten said. “I hope they realize that art comes in many forms and that it can help show their own point of view.”