Since we first pressed our palms onto cave walls some 40,000 years ago and left markings with red and black pigment, the question has remained: why does art matter? But, in a world of global economic turmoil, where jobs are being lost and wars are being fought, any artist or art lover will be quick to answer that art matters because when we look at a beautiful painting, sculpture or photograph it gives us an experience that nothing else can. A good piece of art, no matter the medium, can excite, provoke, soothe, and inspire. With art, the beauty of the world is magnified with light, shapes, colours, textures, and suddenly the everyday world becomes a thing of endless wonder.
With digital cameras, photography has become an easily accessible medium for anyone hoping to discover truth and beauty in art. It is no longer the expensive and troublesome medium it used to be. This is good news for high school students. Perhaps more than any other age group, teenagers are constantly looking for ways to express themselves. Desperately wanting to grow up, they often leave behind the unbridled joy of childhood, but art (including photography) allows teenagers to continue to embrace childhood joy and creativity.
Luckily for students at PCSS, Photography has been an accredited course under the tutelage of teacher/ photographer Jeff Banman for the past couple years. Having run as mostly an afterschool yearbook club beforehand, it has only been recently that students were surveyed and, with over sixty students requesting the course each year, Banman was given the go-ahead. The issue now, says Banman, is obtaining decent equipment with which to run the course well. On Friday, January 20, the students will be displaying their photographs to be sold through a silent auction in order to raise the necessary funds for the much-needed equipment and editing programs.
“There’s only one camera available for the class to use, which is very limiting. While some students have the means to bring their own cameras, other students are trying to complete the course by either borrowing the one class camera or taking photos on their phones and iPods,” says Banman. “It would be great to purchase a DSLR that is more than just an entry-level camera. I’m hoping that we can also purchase programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom soon so that students can edit their photos. Taking the photo is just the first step. Unfortunately, the school laptops aren’t able to run the programs. Ultimately, it would be great to raise enough from the silent auction to purchase a laptop strictly for the Photography class that is powerful enough to run these programs.”
Banman discovered that most of his students had only seen their photos on a screen, and had never printed their photos. As well as serving as a fundraiser, Banman wanted his students to go through the process of printing, matting, framing and signing their work. Enlisting help from Classic Glass, and the high school’s woodworking department to make custom-made frames, each of the 28 students will have at least one 8X12 photograph on display. “There were no strict guidelines as to the subject matter of the photos,” says Banman. “Some will be in colour, and some will be in black and white. There will be some landscapes, some macro photography… lots of different subject matter… I wanted them to demonstrate what they learned in class. I’m really excited because this is a medium we haven’t seen from PCSS students in a long time.”
The student photographs at the silent auction will have a minimum starting bid of $20. Banman has also donated one of his own photographs. “It was such a pleasure to help these students discover photography. They have learned so much and I think the public will be blown away by the work that the students are presenting. I hope it’ll be a success, and I hope it’ll become an annual event.”
The PCSS Photography Class Fundraiser on Friday, January 20, will run from 5:00-7:00p.m. in the Erickson Room at the Creston and District Community Complex. There is no admission price and it is open to the public.