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Semester I Special: For Bethany Lehman, photos can send powerful messages

Junior Bethany Lehman sets up a camera.
[media-credit id=14 align=”alignleft” width=”300″] Junior Bethany Lehman sets up a camera.
by Jacob Schwartz
Photography might seem simple to some––just aim, shoot and you’re done. However,  junior Bethany Lehman has shown how it is much more. Currently taking Photography Major II at this school, Lehman has experimented with many aspects of photography in order to transform her photos.
 Lehman took this picture for photo class.
[media-credit id=14 align=”alignright” width=”300″] Lehman took this picture for photo class.
Many of Lehman’s projects vary in terms of the subjects, settings and other aesthetic factors. “The goal of each project depends on what kind of project I’m working on,” she said.
For example, at times Lehman said she tries to send a message through her pictures. “I’ve done a couple of projects where I’m really focusing on getting a message across, like a publis service announcement type project, or social action photographs.”
Senior Kyle Hartman, who knows Lehman from photography class and Theatre Ink, also commended her technique. “She likes to do things simply, but in a very interesting way.”
One of Hartman’s favorite projects of Lehman’s was one in which she took shots of the inside and outside of a dollhouse. Hartman thought the project was unique because in many of the photographs, it was hard to tell that the setting was a dollhouse rather than an actual house because of Lehman’s carefully executed angles and other techniques.
Lehman said she was satisfied with the dollhouse project’s final result.
“There is definitely a creepy and ethereal kind of mood going in those pictures, and that’s not something that everyone sees when they look at a dollhouse,” she said.
While Lehman said she sometimes uses photography as means of voicing opinions, she doesn’t always think pictures speak louder than words.
“I think all medias are equally powerful,” she said. “There are some things that must be said in writing, but there are some things that just get too complicated to put on pen and paper, and that’s where photography comes in.”
In many of Lehman’s more personal photo projects, some self-examination was necessary. “I’ve done some introverted photography, where I’ll focus on a really personal aspect of my life and take photographs of something that represents that.”
Even in more objective projects, “it’s really impossible to get behind the lens and shoot anything without leaving a personal kind of fingerprint it,” she said.
“All of my work is going to be shot through two lenses, if you want to think of it that way. My biased lens, and whatever lens I’m using on the camera at the time.”
Photography has also changed the way Lehman looks at things. “Photography lets you develop a third-eye type of awareness that stays with you even when you’re not holding the camera, although you often wish you were,” she said.
Photography teacher Ron Morris, who has taught Lehman for much of her high school career, said, “I would say she is very imaginative with her work,” he said.
Morris said one of Lehman’s projects that stood out in his memory was one where a friend of Lehman’s posed as a fashion model. “The result was very striking,” he said.
In this assignment, Lehman was supposed to emulate a professional photographer’s work. Lehman chose to emulate Erwin Blumenfield, a former fashion photographer for Vogue magazine. “I had a really big focus on the lighting and the definition of the model’s face and make up, which I also designed and did, to imitate some of his art.”
Morris also said he has noticed Lehman excel with both film and digital photography. “She is really good on the computer, and her digital photography skills are impressive.”
Lehman’s aunt first introduced her to photography. “My aunt is a photographer, and she used to let me mess around with all of her equipment and cameras whenever she was taking pictures of family events.”
Lehman recalls that her first photo was “probably of the floor or the wall. I was just learning.”
A 2000 Kodak film camera was Lehman’s first camera. “It was one of the boxy square ones, where you take a picture that instantly shoots out the bottom and develops in about a minute.”
Now, Lehman is experimenting with film, digital, macro and telescopic lens. “You know, anything I can get my hands on I want to try,” she said.
Lehman may have many different interests, but she does know photography is “definitely, definitely a passion. I don’t even understand the word hobby,” she said. “Why would you spend hours doing something you don’t need to do, if it’s not a passion?”

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