Recently we challenged our photo students to come up with a project based on issues facing us at this very moment. We discussed the importance of photography being a media vehicle capable of creating change. We also discussed the importance of telling your story along with the visual media. Three 8th grade students rose to the challenge, producing images and thought-provoking messages.
Aurora Golden photographed her classmates’ eyes, and using software, created a montage entitled ‘We are All, We are One’, representing gender & racial equality:
“I find that the best ideas come at two a.m. This picture is one of those ideas, having the faces of twenty-five of my peers. What I see in ‘We are All, We are One’, is how women are strong and capable, regardless of what their race or ethnicity is. And while we are not equal yet, humans are becoming closer and closer to equality, one stepping stone at a time.” (Aurora included one photo of a male classmate).
“I hope one day that people will read of sexism and racism in history textbooks, and think of it as a relic of the past. People are starting to realize women, and how big of a role they play in society. This photo is supposed to show just that. That women are there. That women are listening. That women are prepared to bring this world into an age of peace and equality–That women are ready.”
Olivia Perry was fascinated by the controversy surrounding the Starbucks’ holiday red cup, which became the sensation known as #itsjustacup.
“Annually, Starbucks introduces a new holiday cup, with an assortment of holiday designs, often centered around Christmas. This year the holiday cup is plain red, a minimalist yet festive approach. However, it was not well received by some Christians, who took to social media to rant about the so-called ‘War On Christmas’. They claimed that the simplistic design was discriminatory towards Christianity, seeing as it wasn’t specifically a Christmas design and there was nothing blatantly religious about the cup as there had been in years past. However, the red cup was far more about equality than it was about discrimination. Instead of the design being centered around Christmas and exclusive towards other religions, it was simply red and didn’t have anything to do religion. It was, if anything, inclusive. Yet social media blew up over a controversy that shouldn’t have drawn this much attention. There are bigger discussions over serious controversies that actually hold some sort of gravity in the world, and they should be the topics that should capture the nation’s attention, not a disagreement over the color of a cup. To create this picture, I took one of said Starbucks cups and splattered paint of a variety of colors on the cup to show that color doesn’t matter. After all, it’s just a cup.”
Jade Sweeney took a different approach in highlighting the alleged “War on Christmas.” Jade’s image features the controversial cup, adorned with her own personal jewelry, which gives the impression the cup is “imprisoned” by the social media uproar. The background features many public Tweets that were found on Twitter at the time the controversy started.