OPINION: More than a photo class

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The participating seniors’ names are incorporated into the hallway entrance.

Jack Steele Mattingly

Last Thursday, Mr. Curtis’ Photography 2 class debuted their show “Stop Bath” in the Norma E. Brown gallery. The opening was held at 3:00 PM after school and was met with a large audience of friends, family and fellow Manual teachers/students. The gallery showcased a total of 16 students’ work, the largest group the class has ever had, over the course of two years of photo class. Although each artist’s space was limited, they were able to pull off a full immersion into each style. Walking into a show that was exclusively for a photo class one would most likely expect a room just decorated with artistic, black & white photos. But, as is everything at Manual, they went even further.

The first thing to catch the attendee’s eye would be the wall of head shots of the artists. Just a normal portrait, right? Not even close. Each shot showed the artist immersed in an opaque, white liquid. Their faces each barely surfaced with a different style. Some looked at peace; others on the verge of insanity. The inspiration for this came from Jenna Farineau’s own photo series which was featured in LEO Weekly. The name of the show; Stop Bath. Below the name they placed the definition, which is simply the name of the chemical bath they put photos in while developing. It’s the chemical that stops the developing process and before you put it in the fixer chemical. And when the viewer turns to their right, they will see a large, metal bathtub that is ‘overflowing’ with photos taken by the artists. On top of this, throughout the entire room there are clips of negatives hanging in lightbulbs. To say the photographers went out of their way would be an understatement.

A bath sculpture adhering to the name of the gallery, "Stop Bath."
A bath sculpture adhering to the name of the gallery, “Stop Bath.”

A simple 5×7 photograph didn’t suffice for the creativity in Mr. Curtis’ class. Each artist’s slot showcased at least one piece that would ‘pop’ at the viewer. Literally. What is mostly thought of as a  2-dimensional art medium, photography in this room was obviously taking some liberties and strayed away from the classic interpretation. From shadow boxes that gave layers to the original photo background to a panorama landscape that hangs and rotates from the ceiling. I’m sure the artists unintentionally left a fresh coat of brains all over the walls after the showing, because certainly there were minds blown.

One photo project.
A panorama suspended.

In the end, the Photo 2 show is unlike any of its kind. I would highly recommend all who have the opportunity to view the gallery before it’s taken down. The photography students put a lot of heart into this show and its a great way to end their high school career with a bang.