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Peter's Picks of the Show

Through the Student Lens

photography by high school students and their teachers

Allendale Columbia
Charles Finney
John Marshall
Monroe #1 BOCES
Norman Howard
Our Lady of Mercy
Pittsford Sutherland
S.I.I.T. at Edison Tech
Webster Schroeder
Webster Thomas
West Irondequoit
Wheatland Chili

Peter Marr picked his favorite photos of the show
by the the featured and guest photographers and also describes the strength of the images he has chosen.


All images copyright by the individual photographers

Ralph Waldo Emerson has famously stated that “Self-trust is the precondition of original perception”, a statement that is inspired by the intent of communicating. Here in this excellent exhibition, we see countless examples of photographs supporting this philosophy, and we all should be inspired by the contagious enthusiasm this show extends to us. The magic of youth is a delight which is never truly itself until it is shared with others. This is a delightful demonstration of fresh vision, and intuitive, unrestricted awareness, one in which E. E. Cummings would have proudly said, “The eyes of my eyes are opened”.

Peter A. Marr

Untitled by Ted Bradford


By Ted Bradford    
School: Allendale Columbia

We are truly fortunate to have three of Ted’s outstanding images on display, from which I have chosen “Untitled” to comment further on. In this dramatic print, we envisage a powerful, penetrating male portrait, interspersed with splashes of vivid colors and neutral artistic brush strokes, and there is even some faint lettering weaving its way over the model’s body. Like many of the other prints in this wonderful display of youthful talent, Ted’s image exemplifies “Through the Student Lens” in showing the amazing talents of these high school artists.

Breaking through stereotyped perception, and showing freedom from premeditated ideas, the portrait by itself would have been memorable, but the enrichment by using many of the available modern digital techniques has resulted in a truly exceptional image. The splashes of purples and related colors, together with the broad neutral brush strokes and splashes of white, certainly are an awakening to creative insights. One could imagine the model being dropped vertically into the surf or other media, resulting in a forceful and violent upward splashing. However, with the striking black swathe of hair and black paint streak on the face, together with the mysterious lettering suggesting “existence where there is no death”, I feel there is more sinister scenario, reminiscent more of mythology. I see a Greek God, an intense fragile, lonely entity, whose life is pervaded with demons that he is continually fighting. These demons give rise to deep and frightening thoughts, which he longs to burst free from. It is a continuing life-long struggle. This print is imaginative, dramatic, remarkable and thought-provoking.


Looking into another world by Suzanne Vandivert


by Suzanne Vandivert
: Norman Howard

This is a truly innovative, imaginative and artistically presented image. Rarely do we see a circular print that has such a visionary and striking impact, aptly described by an alternative title as Looking into another world. We get used to moving so fast that we miss the ability to see the world with unconstricted awareness, but happily in this outstanding image, Suzanne has reawakened our sense of wonder in her openness to see the world freshly. It is important to visualize and get caught up in the excitement of what this photograph says to you. I see a window into an aquarium, where delicate life forms dance and play in their own private world, a world little different than that countless eons ago, except that these beautiful creatures are in a restricted space. But what a space it is, as we see an underwater delight of resplendent pastel colors, contrasted against three silhouetted observers, who are caught by the camera in their own slice of time. This idyllic aquarium scene is captured for posterity with one of the modern recording mediums so prevalent today. The overall image is simply stunning and powerful, and stands by itself as a stellar photograph. We can only marvel at the intimate relationship between the present, as presented by the three observers, with the exquisite vista through the porthole of life that has little changed over millions of years.


Looking into another world by Suzanne Vandivert


by Lauren Fordham
: Webster Thomas

This is a truly striking, dynamic image that wonderfully exemplifies both a zest for life and a free spirited approach to photography that is a great tribute to the artistic skills of the author. This zest for life is beautifully summed up in the Latin saying “Dum Vivimus vivamus”, while we’re alive, let us live. O the many facets to be admired in this print, I particularly liked the tilted line of the slide, the powerful curved metal arch of the steps thrusting into the vast negative space of the deep blue sky, and of course, the choice of a unique camera position. The latter so dramatically captures the young girl about to plunge into what could be a bottomless abyss for some young people. The whole scene has a thrilling tension so wonderfully captured here, a suspense so prevalent for some people who risk such a downward plunge. We truly feel the emotion and fear from the tightly gripped hands on the arch, all the way to the feet in the open sandals that are desperately trying to brake on the slick, shiny surface of the slide. This is a traumatic moment in time, where the decisive decision of letting go for an elated ride or possible disaster is superbly captured, a decision that we do not know the outcome of. The strong, bold colors and the wonderful reflection all contribute to make this an outstanding image. One should point out that the sense of urgency for the girl to let go is further emphasized, maybe unintentionally, by the hand and arm of another person, anxiously awaiting their turn on the slide. You certainly sense there is no going back, and one can intuitively feel that the changeover from fear to exhilaration is a split-second away.


Sleeping by Emily Byrne


by Emily Byrne
School: Monroe#1 BOCES

It might surprise some people that I chose a very dark image for one of my “picks”, but to me, the mood and atmosphere created by the low light value, is just right for the subject matter. Sleeping is dark and mysterious, very necessary, but often very disturbing. Emily, through great perception and awareness, has given us awesome mystery with an ordinary event. I am reminded of someone who asked Dizzy Gillespie where his jazz came from? He replied, “It’s out there man, don’t you hear it?” Sleeping is out there, don’t you experience it? With the distorted tangle of bedclothes and ghostly images of legs, Emily has captured the true essence of sleeping, evoking the strange and varied positions that people get into. One becomes fascinated by trying to follow the patterns and vague human entities, that one’s eyes rarely travel, or if they do, rarely stay, on the bolster at the top of the photograph, which certainly has the highest light value. This alone is mysterious, as our photographic teachings imply that our eyes always tend to go to the highlights or dominant color in a photograph. Just another example of how youthful artistry has defied our normal old fashioned mores. With this dramatic and intriguing print, one can easily go beyond (and hopefully the observer will), visually following the shapes and apparitions, to transport our thoughts into the cerebral cortex to follow dream sequences. Most of our dreams follow dark and mystical pathways, so I hope that this enigmatic print will jolt every observer into looking at, or at least imagining, their own sleep patterns. An impressive, intriguing, powerful image.


Over the Edge by Hannah Winter  

Over the Edge

by Hannah Winter
: Charles Finney

Very often, the simplest subject matter can make the most dramatic and meaningful photograph, especially in the hands of a youthful, talented and artistic photographer like Hannah. It has been said that awareness is so constricted, that the possibility of change is not even recognized. Furthermore, enlightened photography has been described as unobstructed communion between self and the environment. Photographing one’s sneakers from a vertical perspective would not qualify as enlightened photography, although it might be an excellent record or even an advertising shot. Move part of the feet over a deep opening, chasm, or in this case a dramatic shaft, then the situation dramatically changes. Momentarily, one focuses on the blue jeans and sneakers, but then the eyes quickly take in the eerie expanse below, an unknown area that can easily become frightening and possibly claustrophobic. There is no depth perception here, and although the artist is positioned over what is probably a modest drop in height, the ominous presence of a flight of stairs, disappearing from view beneath her feet, certainly elevates the anxiety. Anyone who suffers from a fear of heights may have trouble visualizing this print, whilst others may want to explore in their minds some of the more mystical questions that this image gives rise to. Certainly, we all want to know where the stair’s lead to, and what could be beyond. This photograph is another excellent example of how the power of seeing, can lift a picture out of the ordinary, into an image the commands great thought and insight. Excellent work.


A Flight of Fancy by Kirsten Frisina

A Flight of Fancy

by Kirsten Frisina
: Pittsford Sutherland

This is another exquisite image that clearly illustrates the freedom, imagination and artistry so prevalent in the work of the youthful photographers in this exhibition. Here, the vision is uninhibited, as is the gymnastic freedom and flexibility of the young girl, as she effortlessly and majestically executes a back-flip, a maneuver that is eloquently captured in peak action by the photographer. The image is bursting with life, conviction and ebullience, certainly enhanced by being shot in black and white against a neutral background. The graceful curve of the body culminates to a point as the hands and feet come together, giving the graceful illusion of a parachute gently descending, to bring its precious cargo safely back to earth. The freedom and youthfulness is further emphasized by the free-flowing hair, splaying out in all directions, together with the casual dress attire. We just love and are amazed by the charm, energy and vitality of youth, of spontaneity, and of fearlessness, as the artist curves her body through space, knowing that she will land securely on her feet. We also know that she will repeat the same motion again and again, until she becomes exhausted on her A Flight of Fantasy. Just a wonderful, outstanding image, delightfully captured for all of us to enjoy and admire.

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