SchoolArts Magazine

February 2017

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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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 25 Objects to Archive I encourage students to collect the objects that are most meaningful to them and those that tell the most accurate stories. Students under- stand that they are not limited to 3D objects, but can photograph spaces, people, and places as well. We discuss methods of archiving their memories using 2D methods and what happens when we transform 3D objects into 2D replications. Working with Photography I give a class demonstration using a handmade backdrop and simple stu- dio lighting. For our setup, we tape a piece of paper to the wall, allowing it to curve gently to the table surface without a fold or crease. Two pop-up desk lamps are used to create depth within the frame and to ensure that shadows are not distracting from the object. After taking their photos, students edit them to ensure consistent expo- sure, white balance, and cropping proportions. We discuss introductory product photography methods and career choices within commercial photography. Presentation Students are encouraged to organize the photographs of their objects in any way that is meaningful and will help archive their stories. With the only limitations being available materials, students choose the format that their collections form. Final products range from sculptures, mobiles, and books to more functional objects such as quilts and sweatshirts. Following the project, some students have shared misinterpreted? How can we mold our own stories now, to leave a legacy that is true to our own voices? Sharing Mementos These thoughts led to an archive project with my photography class. I begin by displaying a controlled portion of my high-school memory box to students. This glimpse into who I was at their age typically draws them in. Students appreciate being let into my world, which helps to create the mutual respect we all know is important. Sharing my objects seamlessly segues into the discussion of memo - ries and legacy. We discuss what the objects we leave behind can say about individuals and larger groups of people, including examples of his - torical remnants of societies such as Pompeii. I encourage students to think about the memories that they are collecting as they go through high school, and to ponder how these thoughts might evolve as they age. Will the things that are important to them now, always be? My goal is for students to under- stand that the choices they make now may affect them later in life, and to decide which poor decisions may not be worth making. Students may find that they become more mindful about their lives in the present instead of merely looking back with broader insight and wisdom much later, as most of us do. L ike many people, I have a habit of saving the objects that hold a special meaning to me. I hadn't realized the extent of my collec- tion until I bought my own home and boxes of things being housed in my mother's attic were suddenly returned to my ownership. As I looked through my treasures, mainly from my high-school and col- lege years, memories came flooding back. Events that I hadn't thought of in years were suddenly as clear and vivid in my mind as though they occurred yesterday. I was confronted with old heartaches and comforted by the thoughts of lifelong friends. After soaking in the memories for some time, I returned the objects to their boxes and stored them in my once-empty basement. I enter- tained the thought of just getting rid of everything, but for some rea- son, I couldn't; the fear of losing the attached memories was too strong. Retaining Memories Most people save things for the same reason I do: to retain the memories associated with them. People deal- ing with loss often sort through the treasures of loved ones who have passed without truly understand- ing what value these objects held for that person. In a way, our possessions become a part of a storytelling legacy for us once we are gone. They are the things that help identify a person and explain who we are. I often think about the story that my own objects will tell. What embarrassing secrets will suddenly be uncovered when someone finds old notes from high school that I've been saving all these years? Will they tell a complete story, or one that might be THE LEGACY Kari Giordano In a wa , our possessions become a part of a stor - telling legac or us once we are gone. OF OBJECTS CONTINUED ON PAGE 56.

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