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Class uses phones to create works of art

November 9, 2015
Photo by Ally Edwards

In Ms. Linda Northrup’s class, students are not told to put away their phones as they are in other classes. During the five-week Phone Photo Imaging class, students used only their smartphones to capture and produce photos.

“The reason we offered the class was twofold,” said Northrup. “Many girls do not have access to digital 35 mm cameras and I wanted to make photography accessible to a larger number of students. Also, I am always rethinking where girls are in this 21st-century world. I want to meet them where they are and help them explore and improve their skills with the tools they are comfortable using. The result was very satisfying. The girls' work was excellent!”

Each week students were challenged to capture a series of images categorized by theme or style. After taking their photos, they had to transfer, edit, and alter the photos so they could be printed out, displayed, and critiqued by the class. This phone-only class allowed students to create art out of something nearly every teenager possesses.

“Because it’s your phone, it’s always with you,” said Sophie Luwis '16, “You have it with you when the sun and clouds are in that perfect place, so you don’t have to run home and get your big SLR and your lens to take a great photo.”

In addition to taking photos, the class looked at the evolution of iPhone cameras over the years. “You don’t really realize how much the cameras [in phones] have changed,” said Isabella Gati '18. “At the time it was the most advanced, but going back and looking at them, it’s so drastic how much things have changed.”

Students also studied photographers famous for using phones to capture stunning images. After researching these photographers, students then used their techniques and advice in their photography. When asked what tips they would give to help others improve their phone photography, this is what they said:

“Use the rule of thirds.” -  Sarah Alagia '16

“Take your time and think ‘Why am I taking this photo?’”  - Caroline McCullers '19

“Don’t just snap, snap, snap, take the time to position the camera and get one good picture.” -  Ivy Li '18

“Pay attention to everything in the frame and cropping can be very helpful.” - McKenzie Melville '16

Photos from the Phone Photo Imaging Class are displayed in the Madeira dining hall and student center.

Arts Academics