Quality of light is arguably the most important aspect to creating a great photo. And, there is no better light than the light in Italy. Practically indescribable, the sun's rays and how it hits the water and land and buildings and people of Italy is the reason why photographers simply cannot put their camera down when they visit the Mediterranean country.
Over spring break, girls in AP Photography were fortunate to experience photographing in Italy's light by participating in a special study program entitled Venice Through A Lens. Their days there were packed with educational tours and photo tutorials which began immediately upon their arrival to the country. Lessons focused on: architectural photography, exploring buildings and other elements of the built environment using various points of view techniques; street photography of city life, oriented to people and their roles, circumstances, and interactions; Venice at night, in which they used their painting-with-light techniques; reflections photography, utilizing the water in Venice to dramatize and emphasize special ways of looking at beautiful things; and portrait projects, which allowed students to create evocative and expressive images of each other in the unique environment of Italy.
While honing their photographic skills the girls took in many sites and participated in once-in-a-lifetime activities in Venice, Murano, Florence, and Verona. A Venetian rowing lesson; meeting students and teachers from a local linguistics high school (liceo linguistico), listening to a chamber music concert in Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, riding city hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Florence and Verona, a Venice gondola ride, and learning about fashions and behavior in Eighteenth century Venice at Palazzo Mocenigo were just some of the activities of the week.
Katya Cavanaugh '19 found the trip to be life changing, "My experience in Venice will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not only were the people there pieces of art in and of themselves, but the history in the city was breathtaking. It was so nice to be able to look anywhere and see something beautiful, whether it was a beautiful reflection in the canal, or a cute gondolier, a window box with colorful flowers, or an intricately carved stone face of a cathedral."
While photography was the focus of the trip, the girls also tasted independence and adventure and were enlightened to other cultures in our world. "This experience gave me the ability to develop my sense of cultural awareness and independence," explained Katya. "From learning snippets of the language, to conversing with students from one of the local schools and creating new relationships, Venice allowed me to hone my artist's eye and let to say that I've touched just that much more of the world."
Josephine Roberts '18 enjoyed meeting new friends while exploring new photography techniques. "Going to Venice was an amazing experience; it was my second time there but I had a completely different perspective since I was there as a photographer. I was a bit nervous to be traveling with a large group of girls, most of whom I didn't know, but I made some amazing friends during that week. It was exciting to be able to explore depth of field, portraiture, and shutter speeds in a different country and environment!"