The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo classes click with CCHS students

Students at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) have opportunities to study photography through several course offerings. “The program is thriving,” reported

David Prifti

teacher/artist David Prifti when he spoke to the Regional School Committee (RSC) on November 25. Prifti gave an overview of courses, and he and three students described an old-fashioned collodion process being taught that enables students to create tintype photographs.

The introductory photography course teaches students how to build cameras from scratch. “I teach the fundamentals,” said Prifti. He told the RSC that from there, the students get into 35 mm film and then enlargements. Students learn techniques, skills and art forms. In the advanced classes, students learn a new technique or process every week, and they can develop their own curriculum. “Thirty seniors are sending [art] portfolios to colleges.”

Grants support class in 19th-century technique

Two years ago, the Concord Education Fund awarded the Art Department a wet-plate-collodion camera. Last year, the CCHS Parents Association Grants Committee awarded a $1,750 grant for the purchase of materials and reference books to be used in conjunction with the 19th-century wet-plate-collodion process.

Prifti and three of his students described the collodion process and showed off the specialized camera and some of their photos to the RSC. Prifti said the process became popular during the Civil War era. The students are essentially making tintypes. Students wear protective gloves and goggles and they commented that they are very happy with the new venting system that was put in last year.

Prifti said, “[The process] is fragile and time-consuming…The part that is remarkable to me is the number of kids feverishly interested in doing this.” He said students learned problem-solving skills and “mastery had to be earned.”

CCHS senior Amy Zuerndorfer said, “It’s a very satisfying process. You are in control of everything.” Senior Lynette Yang said, “But you have to be very careful…It takes a lot of time. Only at the end do you see what you just spent time doing.” Senior Camilla Vogt said, “It’s a collaborative process.” She enjoyed learning the process and told the RSC, “It’s quite a privilege and an honor.”

Prifti concluded, “There’s a nice balance between traditional and new techniques.” The Art Department has grown over his 23 years. “Enrollment is high. The department meets the needs of a large part of the population with our electives.” ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito