Picture Perfect: Camera integration aids art curriculum

Sanobar Chagani, Staff Writer

Among the sounds of chattering students, a respected voice can be heard from down the hallway. Inside the classroom, the teacher tries to explain photography with images from the Internet instead of cameras, desperately trying to inspire a young mind, yet without proper equipment.

In hopes of sharing his passion for photography, art teacher Ross Hines applied for a grant from the Castle Hills Foundation last year. After receiving $2,000 from the foundation, he decided to purchase two fully equipped cameras with tripods, a micro lens and a telephoto lens to share with his Art II class.

Hines wants to teach “real photography” to his students by incorporating professional tools in their classroom. Now, instead of using reference materials from the Internet, students are able to take pictures of both their artwork and images they can use to draw.

“What I see with students right now is that almost everyone has a fancy phone with a camera and their idea of taking a picture is grabbing their phone and clicking the camera,” Hines said.

Hines is planning on teaching his classes how to capture and edit pictures of their artwork and upload them to an online portfolio website, Coroflot, so that they can have a digital copy to record their artwork. By teaching his students more about photography, Hines said he hopes to prepare them for future art classes.

“It makes us feel more professional and it helps us take art more seriously because a lot of the artists nowadays depend on technology and getting their artwork out there,” freshman Loren Querickiol said.

The Photography Club is also planning on using the equipment to inspire others who are also interested in cameras.

“It really surprised me how much of a difference the cameras can make,” junior Talena Pham, secretary of Photography Club, said.

Hines said he is grateful for the opportunity to implement high-end technology. The company that teachers are allowed to order from gave Hines a discount which also helped purchase the equipment within his $2,000 budget. According to Hines, he would never be able to purchase the equipment on his own.

“I specifically bought the cameras because I had the grant,” Hines said. “All of my budget goes toward art supplies.”

Although Hines said he does not have much experience with cameras, he realizes how important it is for an artist to know how to operate them.

“I feel like these cameras can really help change some of what I do and it can also help some students gain more responsibility,” Hines said. “I think it’s something that is important and I want to give kids an opportunity because photography is another way of expressing art.”