Photography Class Introduced at Teen Center

By Nico Correia

Although it opened just last year, the PG&E YMCA teen center is already providing increasingly popular workshops for youth. The photography workshop offers teens a much needed outlet to hone graphic arts skills from a basic to a more advanced level.

It is well known that the photography elective is among the most difficult to obtain at Berkeley High School. Even if students do get into Beginning Photography, limited space in the higher leveled Advanced and ROP photography classes presents another blockade to learning the trade of photography at BHS. “It is true and unfortunate, but so many students apply to be in the photography classes that a lot of people do get rejected from them. Though we would like to be able to add more sections to these classes so more people can take them at this time, it’s simply not an option. The workshop that the Teen Center is offering gives students another channel to turn to and could very well be an excellent alternative,” said Maria Kersey, a Beginning Photography teacher at BHS.

Another downside to BHS photography is the lack of digital work until the higher levels. At the beginning level, only black and white film is taught, which poses an issue. “If you want to be a professional in today’s photographic industry it’s all in digital.” Kersey said.

“Whether it’s a magazine or even the Berkeley High yearbook, you just don’t see plain black and white works anymore. You will need to know how to work with colored digital print and programs such as Photoshop to work in the modern industry.” In the new workshop being offered, students will be educated on how to properly use essential programs such as Adobe Photoshop and useful techniques that can be created with the program that are commonly utilized and necessary in today’s photographic world.

The Teen Center course will consist of a seven–week program emphasizing Photoshop and other digital programs. Diego Mendoza, a graduate of BHS (class of 2010), will be the lead teacher for the course. “I took art classes such as creative arts at Berkeley High and really enjoyed them and learned a lot from them. One thing that my course will be teaching about the most is Photoshop and digital programs. It is important that people who want to do this for a living learn about these programs because they will need it for professional photography. Even people who are not looking for a career might just like to do their own prints and want to take it a step further and add professional effects,” he said.

In addition to learning how to edit their photos using digital software, youth enrolled in the program will learn how to use a digital camera. The Teen Center will provide teens with simple point–and–shoot cameras, and allow them to go into the community and take their own pictures. The cameras rented out through the Teen Center are not mandatory for the course and those in the workshop will be allowed to use their own digital cameras as well. After students begin taking photos, instructors will work with them to “explore and develop skills in the area of their expressed interest,” according to the Teen Center website. Once students choose a specific area of interest, staff can teach specific Photoshop effects to enhance each individuals’ photos.

Mendoza is excited to begin this Thursday, February 16. “Last year the program was set up a lot differently and the teacher never [showed] up. This year the workshop is different and it will be interesting to see what happens.” The classes will be every Thursday for seven weeks starting February 16 from 4:30–6:00 PM at the Multi–Media Lab & Technology Center of the YMCA teen center for a $25 fee.