Photo to be cancelled at local high school. Is it important?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Zoolfoos, Dec 13, 2004.

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Is photography important at the high school level?

  1. Yes

    91.3%
  2. No

    8.7%
  1. Zoolfoos

    Zoolfoos TPF Noob!

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    With the recent addition to the high School that I attend, some work was done to the darkroom. The total space was more than doubled! Although they are required by state laws (because our school has a private septic system, leech field, and well) to dispose of the chemicals by having it removed by a chemical hauler. The idea was to put a large tank under the ground that all the waste from the sinks in the darkroom would go to... but, now the board of education is trying to decide whether or not to keep the program at all, before they spend the money on the waste holding tank. They have said that perhaps they would rather switch all the photography classes over to digital AND have it tought by a computer sciences teacher... NOT an art teacher.

    I have been asked to speak on behalf of the students at the meeting tomorrow evening. I personally know about six people who will consider photography as a career after high school (including myself). Countless numbers of students are turned down each semester because the art teacher tries to keep the photography classes fairly small due to our lack of supplies and space (the darkroom still isn't that big). I have several points on the importance of the class to present and reasons why an art teacher should teach photogrpahy (you'd think that that one wouldn't be so hard... but, with the people running my school... who knows).

    So... the question is this... Why do think that photography is important at a high school level, especially considering the heavy expenses that accompany private classes (which many students may not be able to afford)? What is the importance of 35mm photography, especially as a class to be taken BEFORE a digital photography course?
     
  2. mattvillano

    mattvillano TPF Noob!

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    I think its very important. It's where I got started and now I hope to start a career in the a photo related field. Without it I probably wouldn't know what to do. Its one of the few subjects that actually held my interest and probably kept me focused on school work because I was excited to go to photo class on those days. I still keep in touch with my photo teacher occasionally from high school. Its a great place for people to get started and understand a great art.
     
  3. munkyofdth

    munkyofdth TPF Noob!

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    My h.s. didn't have photo and it was the one class that I wanted to take. I think all schools should have it as a part of the art program.
     
  4. PreludeX

    PreludeX TPF Noob!

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    High school was where i first started to shoot.. I really enjoyed photography in highschool cuz it was a fun but technical class.. Although, my goal in life "was" to be an auto mechanic of some sort, after i did a job shadow and worked with the technicians, i felt that auto tech was not my field.. Then, as things went on, my old photo teacher(who im still in contact with) told me about the art institute of seattle which i now attend for commercial photography. I think, that high school was a awesome class, and it taught me the first things i needed to know.. what the school doesnt understand is that sometime along the line a student will go through that course and want to have a career in that field.. It just shows that the school is more concerned about the money instead of the actual need of school which is to teach students things that they can have a career in.. And what the school doesnt know is that photography is a big career, its not just shooting photos, theres alot to it, Portraiture, Corporate-industrial, advertisement, architectural, fashion, product, wedding... theres a ton of fields that i didnt even know exsited as fields till i started college... and with high school photography, you learn the basic fundamentals to each of those branches of commercial photography... So, in my conculsion, i obiviously choose that high photography is important
     
  5. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    Photography keeps kids off the street.

    You could argue (successfully) that traditional values of photographic skills and a solid foundation for students is going to be the way forward, not just for a future in photography, but in visual media, advertising etc. One analogy would be to argue that a classical music training is invaluable - it gives a stronger basis for a musician, compared to a pop singer who knows how to pen 6 notes and get a no.1 hit and then fade into obscurity. Traditional photographic skills is about the history of photography too; a digital darkroom is an interesting place like the boys changing rooms, but it's not where the science is going to rocket youngster into an appreciation of the depth of the photographic heritage.

    Speak up; clear your throat before you start. Emphasize the importance of providing a creative outlet for young people who want to find ways to express themselves, not just in imaging, but in the making of an image. About the darkroom chemicals; you may have to argue that chloro-fluoro-carbons form the production of CCDs are more toxic to the enviroment and that President Bush's disaster at attending the environmental summit this year pertains to his generation; the younger generation of kids are more environment conscious and just because we don't see CFC contaminants and the pollution caused by Silicon Valley, it doesn't make make local darkroom chemical removal a 'pollution' issue without precedence.

    Hope that helps. If someone throws a custard tart in your direction after that eloquent speech - take cover and don't bow for applause!
     
  6. celery

    celery TPF Noob!

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    Well, you can always argue that film is the only "true" way to start in photography.

    With the advent of digital photography and the photoshop darkroom, many "digital photographers" don't actually understand many of the basic concepts of photography.

    Because it's so easy to manipulate pictures using software, people are overlooking that taking the best picture possible before the darkroom is equally as important if not moreso than the work you do in the darkroom.


    How many digital photographers use filters? Wait for certain times of day or certain types of weather to take pictures? How many actually understand the way natural light and shadow work? And how many take great care to compose their shots in the viewfinder rather than just crop in photoshop?

    Digital temps people with shotcuts that film doesn't offer. Not that people shooting with digital aren't excellent photographers (we have proof of that here on this site), but I'm talking about complete beginners (like high schoolers would be). And beginners should be taught the long way first rather than the shorcut. Kind of how we learned long division first before we started using calculators to do our division.
     
  7. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    No photography classes at all in my high-school (that was in the '80s). In fact in those days it was virtually impossible to study any "vocational" classes at high school. These are reserved for college, which in the UK means you have to be 16 or over (compulsorary high-school education finishes at 16).
     
  8. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    I admit it: I never did grasp long division. Thankfully, by the time I took my exams at high-school, you were already expected to do the sums on a calculator (so you didn't get any marks for just getting sums right, it was all down to technique) :lol:
     
  9. Zoolfoos

    Zoolfoos TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your advice and responses. I have good news on the turnout of the meeting.

    It turns out that the board of education is not as stubborn or ignorant as I previously thought. They were under the impression that "digital is the new thing," and that film was no longer necessary, but they were very open to our ideas. My photography teacher and I both made our presentations and several questions were answered. The high school principal is an advocate of the arts (being a music major...) and had quite a bit of positive commentary to add. When the time came to make a decision the board voted unanimously in support of the photography program. No doubts, no hesitations.
     
  10. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That is wonderul news!! :cheer:

    And even if I were a student of photography interested in digital, I'd be insulted to think I wasn't going to be taught by an art teacher. Photography is and always must be taught as art.

    You did a good thing; best of luck to you. :D
     
  11. Gandalf

    Gandalf TPF Noob!

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    That worries me. :?
     
  12. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    And the true way to dig a hole in the ground is to use a shovel?

    With the advent of microprocessors, many "film photographers" don't understand many of the basics of photography. (PS and green box SLR guys)

    Please provide an example. Give me a before/after pic that was "manipulated"


    Same percentage as the green square film crowd.

    While all fine and dandy, it's much better to learn the basics like aperture, shutter speed and ISO on a digital. You get instant results and the learning curse is WAY faster.

    What about using the flash? Would you want to see the result instantly or would you want to wait till it's processed?

    Now, who would prefer shooting in a studio with film? Anybody?

    Schoolboard is right and I'm glad they've accepted the new technology. Plus, all the pro photogs are gonna be using digital anyways.
     

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