Photography on display

Seniors Marie Nabors and Courtney Long have been accepted into an exhibit at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art to display their work to spectators.

Morgan Lewis, Writer

Seniors Marie Nabors and Courtney Long currently have their photographs displayed in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. They were recommended by their teachers to attend photography classes at the Nelson-Atkins, and then their photographs were selected along with 12 other high school juniors and seniors to be displayed.

BVNW art teacher Melanie Mikel recommended both students into the exhibit. Mikel said she recommended them because of their passion for photography.

“[I recommended them] because they both have outstanding work,” Mikel said. “They’ve got their own body of work they’ve built even beyond what they’ve been asked to do in class. Marie shoots hundreds of photos beyond what she’s asked to do; Courtney’s got a very cool website.”

The process involves students taking five photographs, writing an artist’s statement, then submitting their work to a teacher. The teacher selects one, if any, of the photographs to be displayed. Nabors said not all students who attended the event were selected; there was a process in which picked the top photographs for the exhibit.

“They have a selection process because they can only take up to whatever their set number is,” Nabors said. “[The department coordinator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Natalie Boten] supposedly clear out quite a few [applicants]; nobody from our school who applied didn’t get selected, but I think only [Courtney and I] applied.”

Nabors said the photographs were about documentary photography. According to Nabors, this kind of photography involves anything truthful and objective, such as something left behind. Nabors chose her photographs to be of an abandoned house in Gardner Edgerton.

“I went to a house in Edgerton that was abandoned and took photographs of the property,” Nabors said. “[The owner] died in 2007-2008, something like that, and as far as I know people haven’t been very frequent in that area anymore; he was a hoarder.”

Long said her theme started out as “man vs. nature,” but she changed it into patterns in the suburb areas.

“My theme started out as man vs. nature but it developed into [something else].” Long said. “I would describe [my theme] as how messed up suburbs are all of the patterns that we see in our area, the mass production of the areas, how we have the same series of buildings every ten miles like a shopping mall or shopping center or grocery store, a Starbucks, a McDonalds, then it repeats and it repeats.”

Nabors said she continues doing photography because she could not imagine her life without it. She said she sees events how she would see it through a camera.

“[Photography has] been ingrained in me for the past eight years,” Nabors said. “I see things now in the way that I would frame them in my camera. It drives me crazy when my camera’s not in my hands and I see something I want to photograph.”

Long said photography gives her control over her art. She continues because she said she believes this art form is real but still able to be controlled.

“[I continue doing photography] because it’s an art form that I am able to have all hands on,” Long said. “I control every aspect of the photo. It’s very real to me, it’s a photograph, so it is reality even though I’m able to manipulate my photographs. I’ve never been able to do anything like paint or draw so photography is my way of creating the world I see.”

Long said that even while it was great to be selected, this experience gave her the opportunity to explore styles of photography she was not as interested in. Long said she plans to pursue a future in fashion photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

“It was a really neat experience, especially being in such a structured classroom but it was something I wouldn’t be interested doing in the future,” Long said. “Documentary photography is a particular style that I don’t excel in but being in the classroom with students and teachers that are experienced was really cool, especially having to be selected.”

This will be the first time Nabors displays her work to the public. She said she is very excited to get other peoples’ opinions on her photographs.

“I’m hoping it will be the first time out of many that I will be displayed in a museum and showing my artwork to the general public,” Nabors said. “If you ask the general population of this school if I’m a photographer, they would have no clue. I don’t show off very much, so this is like a first step into showing the world, showing other people my photos.”

These students’ photographs will remain on display at the museum through June.