NORWICH — A group of local teens have taken advantage of the free teen photography program through The Place, and facilitated by local artist Jill Kraft. On Thursday, November 10 from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the students will set up a gallery show displaying their favorite shots at The Cottage Bakery and Willow Primitive, formerly known as The Artists' Palette, located at 17-19 South Broad Street in Norwich.
"We usually set out a little bit of food, it’s open, it’s just a walk-through gallery you can come in and see what all the kids have been doing," said Kraft. "It’s a really cool opportunity. It’s something different for that age group, for preteens and teens to be able to do and learn in conjunction with what they do at the school. A lot of them don’t have access to photography probably."
The students spent six weeks learning the basics of photography, such as posing and lighting, and the different types of photography, such as portraiture and architectural photography.
"We used to do different themes, too. We did one black and white session, we did all portraiture one session, where they used studio lights. But this one we got back to basics basically, and just did the intro to photography class for this one, which is a little bit of everything," Kraft explained.
In addition to learning about photography, students also learned a little about local history and architecture through excursions around Norwich.
"A lot of it was composition because we just walked around and really focused on taking pictures of downtown and the buildings," she continued. "One week we talked a lot about the history of Norwich and the architecture, and then we went over the Unguentine building and they explored that, and I gave them a little bit of history about what that building was, and we walked over to the Jewish Center. It was pretty cool. We try to tie in a couple different components."
Each student selected their favorite photos from the course to be printed, and they have matted and framed them themselves. The free gallery viewing will be open to the public to walk through and take a look at their work.
Plus, each student that attended every class will be entered to win a free camera, to continue learning and practicing their new hobby.
"At the end of it for anybody that’s attended all the classes, they have a chance to win a free camera if they’ve attended all the programs," said Kraft. "We take an attendance and then whoever has displayed that they have signed in, that they’ve been to every one, their name gets put into a drawing. I think the last two or three of them, maybe even more, we’ve given away a free camera. So they have a chance to win their own equipment, too."
The teen photography class was first offered by The Place and facilitated by Kraft several years ago, and has continued on thanks to the generosity of a private donor.
The team aims to offer the course two to three times each year. Kraft said it won't be offered through the winter months, but interested local teens can expect the program to return in the spring of 2023.
More information on The Place and their available teen programs can be found at ThePlaceNorwich.com or on The Place Facebook page.