“I’m using the hair dryer to dry the film faster,” explains Danielle Drewes, a student in Shannon Riley-Martin’s Photography 2 class.
Drewes didn’t want to have to wait to finish developing her film in the darkroom as she finished work on a recent assignment that had students taking photos of people in their natural environments.
Drewes loves art in general but she’s made photography a particular pastime, cultivating it both on her own and for Concord High School’s yearbook club.
“I like helping people capture memories,” she said. “Every time I look at photos, it helps me remember things.”
Photography 2 is one of more than a dozen courses offered by the Art department.
According to the official description, students completing this course “will have mastered the technical aspects of basic black and white photography and darkroom processes, in addition to looking at the various forms of picture making throughout history.”
“We learn how to use enlargers and how to develop with chemicals, which is pretty cool,” said senior Julia Miville.
Students also take photographs and make prints of those works, matting them for display and critiquing their own work.
About halfway through the photography class period as Sebastian Coleman-Larsen, left, fishes through packing boxes filled with camera equipment on the floor of Riley-Martin’s classroom.
He picks up a lens, looking to see if it fits the camera he’s using, and if it’s the size he wants before putting it back down and searching for another.
A typical photography class utilizes this type of hands-on learning and interaction with equipment, and Coleman-Larsen will probably spend the next few class periods working with a camera, and whichever lens he finds, shooting pictures for a single project, which often consists of a series of photographs.
Across the hall in the art wing, students in Drawing and Painting 2 sit at long tables, working on individual projects and laughing and talking with their classmates.
Piper Shumski, left, grids a blank sheet of paper that will soon be covered in acrylic.
In the back of the classroom, Jeffrey. Fullam, who teaches both drawing and painting classes along with a number of other art classes at CHS, sits with a student and critiques her work.
Also shown are Heidi Grace, painting a juxtaposition portrait of a man and some eggs, and Drue Foster, working hard on her own grid painting.
Often during drawing and painting, the tables become covered in snacks, drinks, and art supplies, and here students have placed their coffee and iced tea cups among palettes and papers.
“It’s messy and lots of layers,” Grace says of both her painting process and the workspace in front of her.
Saveon Williams, left, ignores both the bottle of Sprite in front of her and an incoming text from a friend on her phone as she finishes the outline on a grid for her juxtaposition project.
She said she enjoys being in the class and Angelica Carr, sitting a few seats away, agrees.
In particular, Carr said, she likes “the freedom to be artistic, and do what makes you happy.”
A number of CHS students take as many art classes as they can fit into their schedules following an introductory course like Color & Design, which some take during freshman year.
As a result, some come to know the art wing as a particularly familiar place: one they spend time in every day or at least as often as they can.
One such person is Kelsey Grammer, shown at left shading in the face on her juxtaposition project. An active member of the National Art Honor Society at CHS who worked last summer at the Kimball Jenkins Art Camp.
Drawing and Painting 2 is one of the few art classes that Grammar hadn’t already taken by her senior year. She said she took it this year both because of her love for art and because her friends had enrolled in it.