Another point of view: Brunswick High School photo exhibition tests perception
A new photo exhibition showing the work of students from Brunswick High School debuted in the Merrymeeting Plaza on Friday night.
The collection comes from a photography course taught by art educator Jennie Driscoll and sponsored by a scholarship from the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission. The class worked with a guest artist from Portland.
The exhibition is being hosted by Brunswick Public Arts in a space provided by Merrymeeting Plaza and WS Development. The installation is called âHow We See Now: New Dimensions of Photographyâ.
According to Driscoll, the class focused through various assignments on creating images that push the boundaries of perception and photography and allow students to visualize new realities through their work.
For example, in one project, students took and cut out pictures to recreate sculptures and then re-photographed them while working with lighting. In another, the students have frozen their pictures in ice and photographed them over time.
“Everyone definitely had pieces that we’re really happy with,” said Driscoll. “They felt really good about what they had created – something new, a new way of looking at something.”
The course, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, included around 20 students in grades 10, 11 and 12. The students included Braeden Trefethen, a newly graduated Braunschweig high school.
âBecause I was working from home, I had a lot of unique resources, I had a lot of props of my own, I had a lot of forests behind my house that I could use,â said Trefethen. “But I also missed working with classmates, which has been a lot of fun over the years.”
Trefethen added that in addition to Photography II, he took Photography I and some drawing classes while enrolling at Brunswick High School. âThe ones I’ve had have been really great experiences,â he said.
Justin Levesque, the guest artist who led the class, said part of his goal throughout the program was to help students broaden their view of what a photo could be from an artistic point of view.
“The image in and of itself can be a constructed message, right, like the students can think about what to say, and it can really be intentional and not just an observation process but a creation process,” Levesque said. “The photo doesn’t have to be just a rectangle like a print or a JPEG.”
According to Jason Anderson, the visual arts specialist for the Maine Department of Education, the Brunswick Project, in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission, was part of a larger pilot study by the department aimed at bringing Maine teaching artists into Maine classrooms.
“We tried to find the most creative way to adapt to hybrid models and virtual models for teaching during the pandemic,” said Anderson. âThe response was really positive; The feedback from the kids was really great. “
Anderson said there were between 10 and 15 applications for the pilot study scholarship, and two other schools were selected besides Brunswick. Going forward, Anderson said there will likely be another pilot study next year that could be expanded to include the performing arts as well as the fine arts.
The students’ photographs hang inside from the windows of a shop front in the square and can be viewed from the sidewalk. The work can be seen until August.