Every year I look forward to having 7th Grade students work on a pencil self portrait. I love the dedication and effort they put forward to ensure they look fantastic in their drawing . Students love to make time lapse videos of this assignment. The video begins with the first pencil mark to the last. Students are  truly amazed at what they have accomplished.




MSMS Photogs Visit Bearskin Neck, Rockport & Davis Square Somerville


American star

We hope everyone enjoyed the Independence Day holiday, which was flanked by our trips to Rockport and Somerville.  Since our return, we’ve had some considerable class time to edit images. Unlike our other urban settings for street photography, Rockport offered more quintessential shots of Americana along with some breathtaking ocean/landscape views.  Somerville’s Davis Square typified a multi-cultural canvass of work-a-day folks who were commuting to their destinations, making deliveries, or hanging out in coffee shops and city parks.  As with any city, students had the opportunity to observe several homeless individuals, some of whom suffered from mental illness.  Ms. Phillips and I used this opportunity to discuss sensitivity and dignity with regard to street photography.  Whereas a single photographer may be able to discreetly capture powerful images, it would NOT be appropriate for our large group to be photographing these subjects.  One of our more experienced photographers understood this and captured her image when alone and away from the pack:

Ashlyn Biundo Walking Man1

More Davis Square:










harley davidson

croswalk dog walk

cute dog

plaid man





Paused Woman 2

Blue Cans


Alexis-BackInTime (1)

ThanyaWeadick17 (1)

The Garden Gate Dayma

Window Washer

Alexis-TwoMen (1)

Alexis-CoffeeBike (1)

black and white chairs


We also introduced the “photo merge” feature of Photo Shop during lab time.  Using shots taken of the Rockport shoreline, students created panoramic images knit from their individual images.  Behold the beauty!

elli pano

Ashlyn Biundo Pano







So, another aspiring batch of photographers has gotten a great start with this summer’s camp.  If any of our friends, family or fans are in the area tomorrow morning, please stop by the Marshall Simonds Middle School Media Center to attend our exhibit.  The students would love to chat with you about what inspired them over the past two weeks (and you can enjoy some light refreshments too!).

Photo Camp Exhibit 2017 (1)

It happens every year: students entering eighth grade start talking about Final Fling and all that 8th grade offers them. The decorations are created in May during Activity Blocks and art classes.  Students vote on their theme and the magic begins. Dancing With The Stars comes to a conclusion and classmates all seem to come together in celebrating moving on to their respective high schools.  This year’s police detail was MSMS alum, Officer Minichiello, who reflected on his Final fling some 30 years ago, commenting that the 2017 version was nothing like he remembered from his 1984 dance!  Ms. Rogers and I have worked together for several years now, providing a photographic memento for students to remember this period of their school lives.

Students worked throughout the day preparing the gym to resemble a tropical paradise. At the end of it all, the gym looked amazing, and all the dance-goers really cleaned-up nicely, as you can see here:


2017 Dancing with the Stars Champions



Students continue to submit photos for our Diversity Project exhibition. Our intention was to have all photos completed and on display in March, however things just did not work out that way–middle school students are working on their time management skills! I guess you could say that great art takes time. The exhibit continues to grow with these three additions:

Students in the MSMS photography Activity Block and after-school Photo Club took part in a portraiture lesson that combined creative elements of digital photography and fine art.  Skills included use of lighting, meaningful composition, and body painting.  In a world that passes judgement based on appearances and increasingly divides us by our differences, students took the project one step further by demonstrating their ethnic pride and cultural diversity by embedding flags of origin into their portraits.  Once the composition was designed, and body painted flags included, images were shot and edited using Photoshop software.  Together, the photos make a powerful display statement, located along the corridor from the main lobby to the cafeteria.  

diversity flags

neeva by lee part 4gabbie large-1

7th Grade students show off their talent and skill.

 Students  have been working diligently on creating  a self-portrait pencil drawing over the past 4 weeks.   They are applying  their knowledge of composition, proportion and value to their work. Every students has produced amazing work !

Photographs are an excellent medium for sharing the important message of respecting and understanding diversity in our society.  Yesterday Ms. Rogers and I had the opportunity to collaborate with the Edgar B. Davis K-8 school in Brockton, greeted by their very enthusiastic Principal, Diane Campbell, along with her eager staff and students.

The project’s theme “We All Smile in the Same Language” was taken from a message our own MSMS Principal, Richard Connors, provided in his back-to-school message in August.  It was our goal for the photographs is to show a sense of human connectedness through a simple smile. The images invite the viewer to engage, identify & share cultural experiences. We are working with the images to assist the Edgar B. Davis school to visually share their rich cultural diversity.

A special thanks to all the students who shared their great traditions and amazing smiles!