Scrolling through the Instagram feed, one can usually come across Instagram’s weekly weekend hashtag project, titled #WHP. Photography teacher Shannon Smith has assigned her Intermediate and Advanced photography students to participate in this project as well.
Smith said she was excited to finally assign her class this photo project as last year she had already assigned them another project before discovering Instagram’s photo project. “I love all of the photo projects/series/challenges that Instagram posts on their feed. I think it challenges everyone who tries them to do new things they may not have ever thought to do when making photographs,” said Smith.
Advanced photography student and junior Carly Caylor said, “I enjoy Ms. Smith as a teacher because she allows us to shoot what we want, but she challenges us to ask why we do it. Each class she focuses on things that need to be done for specific people, like if they’re missing something or reminding them of something else which is really helpful,” said Caylor.
Last year the photography students were assigned to take a picture each week based upon a theme of their choice. Each student made a blog to document their series. The topics ranged from photographing dress code violations and school lunches.
This photo project is different from past years as the project requires almost entirely the use of a phone instead of a DSLR camera. “It’s a different way to share the photographs they create, and to use Instagram for something more than just social media; to use it as a visual audience for their work,” said Smith.
Each week Instagram assigns a different theme to their users, such as balloons or black and white landscapes, to promote photography. They pick winners every Monday and post all of the entries they receive on their blog.
“I think it’s really interesting that we can do this project; I’ve never known about it before. It’s kinda exciting because you don’t know what it is and it allows the photographers to be creative and not get stuck in a rut,” said Caylor.
Senior Danny Benson decided to continue photography class and take Advanced Photography this year. “Sometimes I really like the assignment. They come up with cool things to photograph and it makes me look at the world a different way. Although sometimes I the project is though like going up to a stranger, getting their life story, and photographing them,” said Benson.
The Instagram project is not the only project that the photography class has been working on this semester, however.
“For the rest of the year, the Intermediate/Advanced class will work on more individualized bodies of work of their choice. We’ll then be working with different types of photographic processes and mediums throughout the rest of the year such as cyanotypes, brown prints, pinholes, cinemagraphs, stop motion movies, wheat pastes, and collaborative pieces, just to name a few,” said Smith.
Students will also be working on a photo documentary in the second semester. “I ask each student what they want to learn and do in the class, and then create assignments within those areas of interest,” said Smith.
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