Six students at the Hartford Job Corps Academy are turning out some nice looking work these days as part of the school’s recently-formed photography team.
The members of the group, ages 17 to 23, are currently displaying a number of their pictures in an exhibit in the Connecticut Department of Labor Central Office cafeteria. The exhibit was coordinated by Christine Flammia, DOL Liaison, who is outstationed at the Hartford Job Corps Academy.
The exhibit photos, according to Andrew MacPhail, Staff Captain for the team, feature “a mix of 35mm and digital prints in both color and black and white. They reflect the students’ creativity and diversity, and we invite DOL employees to stop by and take a look.”
Photography team members get together “on a weekly basis to come up with idea for photos, edit them, and handle other related tasks,” explains MacPhail, a camera aficionado with a lifelong love of photography. He added that the team presently has three digital and two film cameras, as well as a number of other digital cameras that belong to the students. The group began in April with a core group and has been successful in attracting new photographers each subsequent semester.
The idea for the photography team grew out of a request from MacPhail’s supervisor. “We were in the Job Corps’ high school diploma room one day,” MacPhail recalls. “She noted that it was drab and colorless and asked me if we could do something about it. So I suggested the idea of putting together a photography club and having the students take photos.”
Since its formation, 14 students (MacPhail calls the beginners ‘rookies’ and the long-time participants ‘veterans’) have taken part. What the student photographers select for a subject is left up to each individual.
The idea isn’t simply to take pictures, either, but to enhance the student’s educational process, MacPhail explains. “I’ve always said photography is part art and part discipline. In order to participate in the club, students must also complete requirements involving physical training, take quizzes and tests, essays, sit for interviews, take part in scavenger hunts, do photography and image editing, and make a portfolio presentation.”
Among the works in the DOL exhibit are works showing a parrot titled “Polly,” a buzzing bee titled “BEEautiful,” a shot of Canadian geese in flight, and a photo of Mark Twain’s house in Hartford with the title “Twain’s Haunt.”