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Photography students create photo albums to document quarantine experience

Photo by Clarissa ’23 as part of her photography assignment

Following the shelter in place orders and the start of remote learning on March 12th, many teachers began revising their schedules and navigating how to proceed with a new curriculum. Visual arts instructor Judith Tanzman is using remote learning as a chance to design a meaningful new project for photography students and the Marlborough community. 

“Not knowing how long we would be teaching remotely, I wanted to design a project that would capture a very important part of everyone’s personal history,” Tanzman said. 

Each photography student was challenged to take a picture a day and, at the end of the month, create a compiled book of all the photos to document this time in history. 

First year photography student Nesma ’23 believes this project has changed the way she observes day to day activities.

“When I would be going on walks or going to parks I would start noticing things I had never paid attention to before, and also realized that you don’t necessarily need a fancy camera or anything to capture a really powerful photo,” Nesma said. 

Tanzman was inspired by photographer Elliot Erwitt who said “photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.” Tanzman used the art of observation as the basis to design this unique project.

“Photographers have the unique ability and opportunity to observe and capture a moment in time that becomes a visual document of history through a very personal lens,” Tanzman said. 

All photography classes have been given this project, and AP students were given the option to complete this challenge in addition to their AP portfolio. 

Olivia ’21, who is currently a junior,  has been enjoying the project and is excited to be using it as a chance to document memories during the quarantine. 

 “I think the project is a fantastic idea on Ms. Tanzman’s part because it’s exactly the kind of thing we’ll be grateful to have 15 years down the line,” Olivia said. 

Olivia has been using this project to photograph objects that she would have previously never used as subjects. 

“I’ve learned that the most mundane scenes can create really interesting photographs with the right lighting and composition. It’s also been a great way to stay mindful and notice the little things in objects like my bedroom window or kitchen plates,” Olivia said. 

As students begin sharing and critiquing their photos from the past month through slideshows and powerpoint presentations, Tanzman was amazed by the variety of images and experiences captured on camera. 

“I look forward to seeing everyone’s completed book and maybe Marlborough students 20-50 years from now will ask alumnae ‘what was it like going to Marlborough in 2020’, …and [alumnae] will have their book to share,” Tanzman said. 

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