Photography is one of the fine arts options offered at McNick for students in 10th grade and above. Students begin with Photography I, which teaches traditional photography and how to shoot with a 35 mm film camera and develop their black & white film in the darkroom. The next classes to take are Photography II or AP (Advanced Placement) Photography.
Both Photography II and AP Photography work with Photoshop and Lightroom, editing softwares on MacBooks. Students take pictures every weekend and then edit them during the week. AP Photography students have the choice to submit a portfolio to the College Board for grading to earn possible college credit.
The AP Photography class is a part of the Taft Art Museum’s program, Artists Reaching Classrooms. The program brings professional artists into the school to talk to the students about their career in the arts. The students go to visit the Taft twice during the year and visit an artist’s studio. The goal is to create an art piece and an artist’s statement that connects to the Taft’s collection or a visiting artist. Seven art pieces are submitted and displayed at the Cincinnati Public Library downtown.
Film photography and digital photography both have contrasts against the other, so the transition from film to digital can feel odd at first. The transition from manual to digital photography was fun for AP Photography student senior Emily Ferguson. “It was fun learning to develop black & white film,” Ferguson said, “but it was nice to learn new techniques with the digital camera.” Using Photoshop and Lightroom was a favorite aspect of digital photography for senior David Collete. “I like using Lightroom because you’re able to change everything about your picture and Photoshop to remove things from the photo,” Collette said.
Both Ferguson and Collette agreed that their favorite form of photography is digital. “On a digital camera you can see the photo right away and know if you have to retake it, but on film you have a 50/50 shot at achieving a good photo,” Ferguson said. Collette enjoyed the freedom of taking unlimited photos on digital. “I am not afraid to take multiple photos of the same object in digital but you only have so much film [in traditional.]”