“See the world through our eyes”, a photo show by Challenge kids

Published 5:41 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2007

MCNEILL–Observation is a learned art, and an art well exhibited at the Challenge Photography Exhibit 2007 presented by the Challenge students of Pearl River Central Upper Elementary. The third through fifth graders, about 150 of them, studied photography from its beginnings to the elements of it to the artistic and creative “rules of thirds.”

The Challenge teachers Brandy McCoy, Vicki Malley, Kathy Grantham and Pam Ashley had the help of some local professional photographers such as Christian Burge and Joe Giaise Photography who allowed the students to come to their studios for some hands-on camera experience. Chad Messa, professional wildlife photographer, of Mesa Sky Photography brought his equipment to the school and helped the students to understand how to take photos of wildlife.

“He inspired the students, telling them with a good eye, practice, and determination, they could also become good outdoor photographers,” said Pam Ashley.

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Messa made a video especially for the exhibt and loaned pictures for one of the galleries. His daughter, Sky and her fellow fifth grader, Amanda Mayeux, created a Power Point presentation which highlighted some of Messa’s photos.

The students used a combination of digital and 35mm film processing for their photos which gave them a broader education of photography production, however professional processing at Walgreen’s was used rather than the children handling process chemicals.

The 450 photographs were enlarged to 5×7 and 8×10 sizes. Each student chose three photographs to display in the different galleries: Animal Kingdom; Visual Kaleidoscope; All God’s Children; On the Move; Mix it up; On Our Turf; Dogs We Love; Trees, Trees, Trees; and Photo Albums.

The photo albums held the student’s photographs as well as his or her thoughts about photography and the photographs

In the words of Rod Serling, “Imagine, if you will,” some of the photos in,

–“Dogs We Love” gallery: takes the thoughtful observer into a world filled with soulful-eyed pets of all colors and sizes such as a friendly pair of dogs sits at the tea table ready to be served; or the perky black dog stares at the camera–ready, set, throw it already; and a doggie with a boo-boo; you can almost hear the hefty sigh following the fuzzy, woe-begone look; Who would have thought a nose in the camera could be so funny?

–“On Our Turf” gallery: a bush with flaming colors and children’s faces peering from behind the stems and leaves, the faces in deep camoflage; a dusty floor and seats of a school bus; a big tree and a small tree with rolling, puffy clouds;. Who would have thought something so ordinary would be so interesting?

–“Trees, Trees, Trees” gallery: astounding angles and highlights of trees in full leaf and bare limbed; bent from the storm, and broken in half with new growth.

–”On the Move” gallery: a child in flight, arrested motion only because the camera caught the brief moment of air time; water undulating in a pond.

–“Mix it Up” gallery: an old wagon wheel beside a car tire, an ordinary sight, something a busy person would walk right by, yet caught in the camera’s eye and perserved for the observer’s pleasure; a cheery fire, one can almost feel the heat; Mardi Gras colors infusing a picture of confetti. Who would have thought the shadows and colors would be so intriguing?

Sunrises, sunsets, fish, a dragonfly taking a drink, a snake, horses and colts, children in swings and babies smeared with birthday cake are only a few of the amazing glimpses of the world through the eyes of third through fifth graders with creative flashes that rival college exhibits and professionals.

Parents and fellow students were able to enjoy the display Feb. 12 – 16 at the elementary’s auditorium.