SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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"It was very brave of them to share their experiences with us. It seems as though everyone gained a great deal of knowledge and life lessons from the immigrants that we photographed." —Jessie Egles, student "It was hard to leave all my friends and family, but they were understanding. It was hard to meet up with my father after five years away from him." —Rahad Rahman (Bangladesh), Erin Johns, photographer for the exhibition. But the best part 2.25 camera to photograph their of this story is what happened to subjects in a studio environment. students in the process of creating They developed the film, scanned their photographs. their negatives into the computer, and used an image manipulation program to perfect their images. Student Responses The finished photographs were Many students expressed reluctance printed using a high-quality inkjet to start the assignment because printer on archival paper at 16 x 20" of the difficulty in starting a con(41 x 51 cm). Part of the magic and versation with someone they did power of the final images comes not know. But once they began, from their large amazing things size. These prints Art has tremendous power happened. Their were framed and to develop student's inter- words tell it best: exhibited in the "I really enjoyed cultural competence. school, and then shooting my own in the community dad, and interlibrary. Each photograph is accomviewing him. I was able to learn panied by a statement from the perthings about him that I otherwise son in the photograph. might never have learned." The project and the stunning —Matt Glickman exhibition are the fruits of a high "It opened people's minds to the school photography program that fact that there are other people in was carefully nurtured for years. the school besides their friends." The teachers wrote grants to fund —Vicky Trinko the acquisition of the printer, photographic paper, and frames "This project helped me recognize that differences in people are what make them special." —Beth Spergell Immigrant experiences ranged from those of fellow students who have been in the country for only a few months, to parents or established members of the community who have been here much longer: "Not only did I make a friend, but I learned about a life I couldn't imagine." —Nicole Siegel "In the beginning I was hesitant because I feared it would be awkward. I am so grateful for Rahad for being so open to me and inviting me into her life. Her story of immigration is truly inspiring." —Erin Johns. Immigrant Stories Excerpts from the interviews were displayed with the photographs, making a poignant commentary about culture, diversity, struggle, and courage: 20 SchoolArts April 2007 "We didn't think we were leaving our homes forever. We took only the bare essentials because we thought we would be able to return." —Aldona Marijosius, Lithuania

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