Student photographs displayed in Boston exhibit

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”courtesy Marina Miller” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Kenyan kids[/media-credit]

Senior Marina Miller photographed Kenyan children during her trip to Africa this summer.

by Malini Gandhi
Featuring hundreds of photographs taken by students across the state, including 13 from this school, the Annual High School Photograph Exhibit is on display at the State Transportation Building in Boston through Friday.
According to photography teacher Ron Morris, each school submits a selection of student photographs to be displayed at the exhibit. Though Morris said that having work featured at the exhibit is “pretty competitive,” because he only selects photographs of very high quality, the exhibit is not strictly a competition—something Morris believes is a good thing.
“I think all artists have ambivalent feelings about awards and contests. A famous artist once said, ‘Art is not a horse race,’ and I think to a certain extent that is true,” Morris said.”The point of this exhibit is simply to showcase high quality work from across the state.”
According to Morris, he selected pieces to represent an assortment of styles and subjects in order to capture the different facets of work completed at this school.
Indeed, the selections from this school feature a wide variety of photographs, from muted, traditional black-and-white photographs to neon, computerized pictures.
Senior Marina Miller’s photograph is a heart-warming jumble of colors and faces. It depicts a crowd of small Kenyan school boys with green uniforms and blue sleeves, their heads tilted and their thumbs up.
Miller said she snapped the photograph on a trip to Kenya this past summer, where she travelled to bring musical instruments and clothing to children in villages.
“It was our first day at the school, and we were bringing in piles of clothes. I don’t know why, but the boys all started putting their thumbs up. All of a sudden, it was this sea of thumbs and I was like, ‘I just have to take this.’” Miller said.
Another striking photograph is senior Maddie Aquilina’s piece “Hippocampus.” The photograph shows a girl, her back against a white door. Splayed over her mouth, nose and chin are slips of translucent collage material and old ticket stubs woven together with copper wire.

The piece is chaotic, choppy and layered, utilizing  a variety of forms of media to accentuate the stark, solemn photograph.

Demonstrating profound attention to shadow and movement, senior Aaron Siegel’s untitled photograph is wild and thought-provoking.

The photograph depicts a boy sitting cross-legged in a shadowy room in front of a dark drape with metal tools hanging down from the ceiling on strings. The boy’s body is blurry, his eyes vacant and his hands a whir of movement. He is taking apart what seems to be a key board, and the dislocated keys he has flung upward are frozen in mid-air, haunting and ghost-like.

Junior Phoebe Arteaga’s untitled photograph, which shows a girl staring into a mirror and touching her reflection with her fingers, also bears a haunting quality.

In the foreground, every detail of the girl’s eyelashes and the shadows on her face are sharp and pronounced, but the girl in the mirror is merely a washed, white face with searching eyes. The two double images touch on an invisible boundary, almost as if the glass was not there.

Overall, the exhibit was original and striking.

As Miller said, “I love looking at high school photography because it is so raw and so different. Seeing other’s work provides inspiration.”