PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The next generation of young photographers showcased their talents with the community recently at Wintergreen Arts Center and discussed the inspiration behind their latest creations.
Thirty-five students who took part in two photography courses at Wintergreen this summer came together with family members and friends during a First Friday Downtown Art Walk exhibition on Aug. 2.
This summer marked the third time that Shaye McHatten, a Mapleton native and college senior, has offered weeklong photography courses, one for grades K to three and another for grades four to eight. Fifteen students took part in the K to three class while 20 enrolled in the later class.
McHatten taught students about specific photography techniques such as composition, point of focus, leading lines, shutter speed for action photos and the basics of Photoshop software. She said that she saw great improvement in their photography skills and willingness to try new things.
“A lot of people now will take pictures with their phones, but it’s cool to put an actual camera in a child’s hands and let them capture how they see the world,” McHatten said. “Through photography they’re sharing their own personal voice.”
The students took part in a variety of activities that allowed them to capture unique photos of both people and nature. For their “Leading Lines” lesson they each took photos of a classmate standing on a bridge in Riverside Park. They learned how to focus their photograph around a single subject using composition and lighting. “Action Shots” also proved to be another favorite activity, in which students took photos of each other using blowing bubbles or throwing confetti into the air.
Ten-year-old Emily Hallett of Mapleton chose to feature a close-up photograph of a leaf floating in water as part of the Wintergreen exhibit. The first-time photography student said that she most enjoys taking pictures of nature and her friends.
“I like the way the leaf stands out on the water,” Hallett said, about why she chose that photograph.
Shojoon Naseri, 10, took the photography class while visiting family members in Aroostook County. Naseri, who is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has studied photography at Wintergreen for the past two summers. She said that McHatten taught students to focus on the most important details while taking photographs.
“We learned a lot about how to use angles to make our photos look different,” Naseri said, while showing folks a photograph she took of flowers sitting below a sunset sky.
The students’ photography will be on display at Wintergreen until the center’s next First Friday exhibition in September. McHatten hopes that seeing their work showcase will inspire her students to continue honing their talents.
“Photography is a great tool for empowerment and personal growth,” McHatten said. “I want them to see that there’s much more you can do with art than just drawing and painting.”