My school is slowly becoming more accepting of my photography!
As I sat in the school library, scrolling through Lomography.com on the school’s computer I finally took a moment to look back at my history with photography and how it has conflicted with my school work and why I continue to let it intrude in my academics. And even further, why my school has accepted constant flashes and snapping of photos from me.
In my freshman year of high school I was incredibly close with my art teacher. We both had 8th period free and so everyday I would just tromp on upstairs and into her room for the last lazy minutes of the day. I started to show her some of the pictures I had taken a year ago to do some linoleum block cut outs and she really liked them. She told me I had to keep doing this. She told me I had to keep taking pictures. So I decided to buy a camera for a school project. So we searched for hours on eBay. We finally found a perfectly good Yashica Mat TLR that went for $65. We won. There was much rejoicing. We then were told by the teacher next door to quiet down.
Two days later the school blocked ebay.com on the school computers.
After a few days I realized that my home wasn’t some box that confined me and my camera so I bought a neck strap and took my new baby to school. It took a while for me to get comfortable with bringing something that precious with me to a very dangerous place. It also took time for my friends to realize I had a camera and have them become comfortable with me taking pictures all the time.
But tragedy was sure to strike soon. The school isn’t really too keen on cameras in the school and were getting sort of suspicious where all these pictures were going and why I wasn’t ever showing them to them. I never showed them to the teachers merely because they were film and I never remembered to bring in my prints. Making matters worse a choppy video of a ridiculous dance party I held in the school’s bathroom had leaked onto Facebook. That party however was very worth it.
The school was looking for me.
So one day during a study hall, I took a picture of some playing cards on a table. Nothing ridiculous. Nothing sketchy. Just a pile of playing cards.
The principal then came took me into the hall and told me I was from now on banned from taking photos in the school.
I was devastated.
Just as I had gotten used to being able to click my shutter all times of the day whenever I want, it was taken away from me for majority of the day. I spent all my time in school and lets be honest, so many classes of the day are boring. Photography was I way I could pay attention sometimes. With the simple mindless fidgeting of the lens of my Holga, I found I was able to pay attention somehow. Needless to say, I still snuck cameras in here and there.
So this year came around and I signed up for yearbook. Yearbook was not my first choice of class and they couldn’t fit me into Digital Photography, the closest thing to a photography course that my school offers, so yearbook was going to have to do. It was still a class that gave me permission to carry a camera everywhere.
And so the school got used to it. They realized my photos weren’t just stupid photos. They weren’t just photos that would be uploaded onto some social networking site and then horribly edited . They came to like my photos.
And just recently the head of our school saw some of my photos that were on display in a local restaurant. He was very impressed. A week later I was given a note that told me to go to his office after school that day. And after talking for a few minutes, I was officially hired to photograph my school for their website.
And now they’ve unblocked Lomography.com on my school’s computers upon my request.