SAND images at Featherstone
There is nothing like girl power. When it comes from teenage girls - in this case, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School student photographers Sarah Felder, Danielle Fogg, Amy Sertl, and Nicole Mercier who showed their work at Featherstone Center for the Arts over the past several days - it is particularly intense. That energy was evident at Saturday's opening of "Through Our Eyes," a collaboration of the four seniors who spent the last eight months as part of an after-school photography group, calling themselves SAND, an acronym made up of the first letters in the girls' first names. The group was organized under the tutelage of The Center for Creative Expression, which has been showing photography at Featherstone for the past four years.
The program started more than six years ago when, inspired by a similar program in Portland, Maine, photographer Janis Baer, SAND's program organizer, and her husband, Chris Baer, the high school photography teacher, applied for a grant to fund the project. Ms. Baer began to organize groups of students each semester that often partnered with Island organizations like Windemere. They also took photos at the remains of the old Webb's Campground and the Leonardo Brother's junkyard in Oak Bluffs.
"This all started out as a backlash against the local pretty postcard photography," Ms. Baer says. "This group had its own initiative and that was awesome."
Ms. Baer started the girls off with a Holga camera, a camera that leaks light and often vignettes the edges with a black shadow. "It is easy to take photography too seriously, so our program is like check your brain at the door," Ms. Baer explains, adding that it is important to learn how to see and start with the basics.
The girls grew close through the work they created. "You learn a lot shooting with a group," says Sarah Felder who wants to build a dark room in her basement where she can work over the summer. Danielle Fogg, whose photos earned a Silver Key in the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Show, adds, "It motivates us when we are out together."
SAND members Amy Sertl and Nicole Mercier have become "partners in crime." Ms. Sertl, who plans to study early and kindergarten education, plans to minor in photography. Ms. Mercier, who will study art and photography at Monserrat College in Beverly, says, "I played a lot of sports and when I was looking at Sports Illustrated I liked the photos and wanted to be a sports photographer." So she used her dad's camera to take pictures of all kinds of sporting events.