BHS Photography Students Gain Professional Experience as they Capture 2020
Article contributions by:
Mackynlie Conklin and Sara Musgrove
“The photograph is an undeniably powerful medium: free from the constraints of language, harnessing the unique qualities of a single moment frozen in time” (Steve McCurry). Photography students at Brownwood High School continue to capture time as they poise with cameras in hand at football games, around campus, and especially in their most recent endeavor – picture day. Photography teacher Heather Nix creates opportunities for her students to use their skills in professional environments.
Throughout the current school year, Photography students have captured many moments. On the football field, students have been in the action on the sidelines, chasing that perfect shot. Attending and photographing pep rallies, homecoming, and other showcases of student accomplishments, such as the “Students of the Month,” which is a monthly highlighting of two distinguished students from each grade at BHS, Photography 1 and 2 students also teamed up to present the student body with a unique occasion to capture the annual school photos. During the summer of the 2018-2019 school year, Nix began working with yearbook and video production teacher Monte Atchley to insource the process of school portraits. “My Photography 2 classes were perfectly capable of doing this with a little bit of guidance,” said Nix.
From November 3rd through the 5th, Photography 1 and 2 students worked with Nix and their peers, recording life in autumn of 2020. “On the 3rd and 4th, we photographed Cap and Gown, then Formal and Casual headshots, and on the 5th we photographed everyone else!” Nix said. “School Portrait Day was student-run by all the Photo 2 kids, and one of my Graphic Design students, who has already taken Photo 1 and 2,” Nix said. “Everyone pitched in and did different jobs. Lillian Jonescue, Alec Harris, Arianna Quenomoen, Nathan Ramos, Adrianna Mendoza, Isabella Faz, Yaneza Medina and Riley Johnson all took turns on camera, photographing students. Abigail Wade, Caitlyn Moody, Christian Chambers, Ruth Lowe, and Caroline Burcham worked as posers, dressers, and organizers. This was a way for my students to experience professionalism and develop those skills while servicing their fellow classmates, who we actually refer to as clients.”
While the students worked as a team to coordinate the portraits, they will utilize their work as a fundraiser for the Photography student account. “After the students process the images, remove minor blemishes, and fix the glare on glasses, the images will be uploaded to the BHS Media Crew website where parents can purchase the images they want,” Nix said. “They can purchase prints, digital images, and different gift products. All the proceeds go to our activity account.” Skilled photographers require the ability to see their work through a lens, while also relating to their clients with courtesy and professionalism, which Nix instills in her students through their Photography 1 and 2 classes and extracurricular opportunities like Portrait Day.
With over 85 students enrolled in the Photography and Graphic Design classes, real-world application continues drawing students into the thriving program. Nix incorporates the importance of perspective, lighting, contrast, collaboration, and longevity into her class syllabus. “Even though school yearbook pictures are not the most glamorous type of photography in the world, it is a special moment for us to capture,” Nix said. “In ten or twenty years, when these students look through their yearbooks, they will remember their friends and the good times they had in school and that memory is precious to us.” Capturing portraits for an entire student body is no small assignment, but Nix’s students accomplished the task and are moving on to their next projects – staple skyscrapers, stop-motion, shutter speed, and harnessing time with a single snap.