A new photo exhibit showcasing the work of Brunswick High School students debuted at the Merrymeeting Plaza on Friday evening.
The collection arose from a photography course taught by art educator Jennie Driscoll and sponsored by a grant from the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission. The class worked alongside a guest artist from Portland.
The exhibition is organized by Brunswick Public Arts in a space provided by the Merrymeeting Plaza and WS Development. The installation is titled “How We See Now: The New Dimensions of Photography”.
According to Driscoll, through various work, the class focused on creating images that push the boundaries of perception and photography, allowing students to visualize new realities through their work.
For example, in one project, students took pictures and cut them out to recreate sculptures, then rephotographed them while working with lighting. In another, students froze their images in ice and photographed them over time.
“Everyone definitely had pieces that we’re really happy with,” Driscoll said. “They felt really good about what they had created – something new, a new way of looking at something.”
The class, which took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consisted of about 20 students in grades 10, 11 and 12. One of the students included recent Brunswick High School graduate Braeden Trefethen.
“Working from home I had a lot of unique resources, I had a lot of my own props, I had a lot of wood behind my house that I could use,” Trefethen said. “But I also missed collaborating with classmates, which I really enjoyed in previous years.”
Trefethen added that in addition to Photography II, he took Photography I and a few drawing lessons while enrolled at Brunswick High School. “The ones I took were really a great experience,” he said.
Justin Levesque, the guest artist who helped guide the class, said part of his goal throughout the program was to help students broaden their view of what a photograph of a point could be. from an artistic point of view.
“The image itself can be a message that is constructed, right, as students can think about what they want to say and it can be really intentional and not only be a process of observation but a process of creation. . ” said Lévesque. “The photograph doesn’t have to be a simple rectangle, like a print or a JPEG. “
According to Maine Department of Education fine arts content specialist Jason Anderson, working with the Maine Arts Commission, the Brunswick project was part of a larger pilot study conducted by the department that seeks to integrate Maine artist teachers into Maine classrooms.
“We were trying to think of the most creative way to adapt to hybrid models and virtual models for delivering education during the pandemic,” Anderson said. “The response has been really positive; the feedback from the kids was really great.
Anderson said there were between 10 and 15 applications for the pilot scholarship, and along with Brunswick, two more schools were selected. Going forward, Anderson said there will likely be another pilot study next year, which could expand to include the performing arts in addition to the visual arts.
The student’s photographs hang inside the windows of a storefront in the plaza and can be viewed from the sidewalk. The work will be on display until August.