The community of Lac Seul in northwestern Ontario is trying something new with school picture day by passing on professional photographers and instead, putting the job in the hands of its students.
Students are even learning the lingo of photography.
“Look, smile Tia. Right here, hands down, smile! Hurry take it! Right here, look smile. Aw, she looks so pretty.”
Students said it’s an opportunity for students to learn new skills.
“I just like taking photographs and all that,” said grade 8 student Nadia Trout. “It looks interesting.”
Trout and her classmates are working through the process of photography.
It’s one of the many projects the Lac Seul Education Authority is doing that uses local resources to teach skills and inspire students.
And the school can skip paying an outside photographer thousands of dollars to come in and do it.
“With this project what happens is the kids learn those skills, they learn how to take the pictures, they learn the business skills,” said Education Director Eric Bortlis.
“That stays in the community plus those beautiful pictures are still here.”
Grade 8 students like Darren Trout were put in charge of the entire process.
“The job I’ve been given is just to call them up and line them up and just get them to take their pictures and that,” said Darren Trout.
The students were taught and guided by local First Nations photographer Brent Wesley.
He did a photography workshop with them before picture day.
Wesley said the experience gives students confidence.
“I eventually just stepped back and they took over and it was amazing to see,” said Wesley. “That they were taking control and taking ownership of this project and just being confident, it was awesome.”
Nadia Trout said it was hard getting students to smile, but she was happy with how the pictures turned out.
“I don’t know just all the pictures and how they look like when you zoom up close like how it focuses on one thing and everything else will be blurry,” she said.
The students will price, market and print the photos to sell to parents.
Profits will go toward their school trip to Toronto at the end of the year.
Bortlis said this experiment won’t end with photography.
They plan to bring in other local role models including mechanics, and IT techs.
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