“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” Photographer Elliot Erwin
Photographer and teacher Jo-Ellen Fischbach teaches and watches. She follows her student photographers around The Lexington School’s campus each week waiting for that moment when she knows the magic is there. She sees the perspective change, watches as her student shifts her body to the left or crouches beneath the tree in a way unnatural to easy posture. That’s it, she thinks. They just saw something in a different way, captured the emotion of a moment, experienced creativity in their own way.
As part of The Lexington School’s After School Fine Arts Program sponsored in part by the Simpson Foundation for the Arts, “PRESS PASS” meets all year long, once a week. Jo-Ellen Fischbach explains her mission for the class through a story: “I read a study one time about the change in the attention span of humans in recent history. It showed that the thirty minute average attention span had shrunk to three minutes. Photography gives us a chance to reverse that lack of focus. Photography lets us stop, gaze, observe, and engage with the world visually. It is about taking the TIME to see and imagine. I want the kids to take the time to make these connections. I want to teach them to see, to gaze.”
“For that reason, the first semester of class is about finding our visual voices. On one of our first days, I asked the kids to take ten minutes in silence to just walk around and look and see. Seeing the world around them and then capturing what’s there through the medium of photography as their expression of how they see the world is really important.”
“Learning to be an artist. When I tell people I’m teaching kids as young as 4th grade, they can’t believe it. We do more than just learn the camera. We do history lessons, discuss the style and art forms of different photographers. But the best part of this age is the amazing opportunity to teach them that they are artists already. They have eyes of wonder and uniqueness, and teaching photography this young gives them the ability to see the world forever in different and fresh ways.”
Enjoy this gallery of student photography to date along with images by Jo-Ellen of her students in that moment of time suspended when they gaze to see the world differently, creatively. We are grateful to see it through their eyes too.