For the past few years, the Gibson Gallery has been host to an exhibition of digital photography from Greater Essex County students. Students all have access to cameras whether it’s the family unit, their own, their school’s, or embedded in their cell phone. This forum gives them an opportunity to be hung and on display for the general public to view. For some, it may be the only time in their life that their artistic efforts are on public display.
It started as a concept. Students would submit photos; we would mount them and then hang them; and then put them on display. After the initial overwhelming first year’s response, it became obvious that the mounting part wasn’t going to happen. So, over the years of this annual event, the organization has become more sophisticated – we now expect the students to mount their own on bristol board, have limits on the size, and we require each student to submit a description for their composition which is hung with the photo so that everyone knows what they’re looking at. Context is everything!
With the volume of entries, I get scared to death that we’ll lose someone in the process. Consequently, the entries are sent to my support person who enters the details into a Filemaker Pro database that follows me for the duration of the exhibition. She labels each entry with a number and makes sure that number is recorded in the database for me. A failsafe is the requirement that each student have his/her name on the back of the photo.
Then, somewhere between 900 and 1000 hammered push pins later, they’re all mounted. The number of pins is an estimate as some break or bend going into the hard mounting surfaces. My artistic daughter then arrives to inspect and asks for some movement for balance or some other thing. Argh.
But, when complete, the presentation is quite impressive. The Gallery invites a number of local photographers to the exhibit to judge and we award first, second, and third ribbons to the categories of Black and White, Colour, and Digitally Enhanced in each of the four divisions Primary, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior. During the second year of running this, the judges also asked for the ability to identify best of show in each of the three categories so that a primary photography eye could go against the older students. And, yes, these need to be hammered into place beside the corresponding photo.
This year, we have an added twisted. The Voices of Amherstburg identifies various audio stops through the community. What better way to show this off than to ignore the suggestion that I record the message and ask my photography friends from Gore Hill to do the deed. You can listen to them at 1-866-578-0242 and the Gallery is stop number 15.
Not everyone is able to head to Amherstburg to enjoy the show which opened this past week in time for the Victoria Day weekend this week and the Memorial Day weekend next week so I do have a webpage devoted to the exhibition and I created a short Prezi to show off some of the works. Prezi embeds don’t work on WordPress so please click the link below to see it.
You can get a flavour for what you see but you really need to visit in person to get the full effect.
What never fails to amaze me is the professionalism and pride that goes into the entries. The student eye is readily apparent and it is quite humbling to see how they can use the camera and their originality to tell a story for the moment in time that they captured the image. There’s an increased level of sophistication in this as well. In the beginning, it was a matter of going out on the weekend and taking a few pictures. Now, the repeat submitters gather a year’s worth of images and submit their own personal best of the best.
Photographers and parents are invited to the Gallery on June 6 for a reception and my Superintendent will be on hand to greet the photographers first hand.