Atascadero Middle School's digital arts photography show coming to Brú Coffeehouse

ATASCADERO — On Thursday, May 4, from 5-6:30 p.m., Brú Coffeehouse, located at 5760 El Camino Real, will host the official opening reception of Atascadero Middle School's second annual digital arts photography show.

The show, which is scheduled to run throughout the entire month of May, will feature artwork by roughly 300 different students, each of whom is encouraged to enter a maximum of ten photos.

"Students submit any kind of photography they have done, either from school projects or when they explore photography outside of the classroom," digital arts and yearbook teacher Jennifer Parham said. "Digital art students then vote for the images they think should be included. The classroom gets pretty chatty when they vote and discuss what they like about each image."

While the digital arts classes offered at Atascadero Middle School teach students how to work together, they also teach them how to work as individuals, Parham said.

"Students learn how to learn new technology on their own," Parham said. "They get comfortable asking friends, looking on YouTube for tutorials and just trying to figure stuff out. They also get comfortable with the idea of trying new things and not being intimidated. That's huge because the technology we use today will change, but the basic principles of art and design are here for good."

Mary Sherer, an eighth-grader at Atascadero Middle School, is already well-versed in those principles.

"I designed the flyer for the photography show on my own," Sherer said. "It's modern and trendy look is based off of my own experiences. You could say it represents my personal style."

Although there is not necessarily a specific theme students are required to follow, submissions should try to accurately abide by and portray those basic principles.

As the head editor of Atascadero Middle School's yearbook class, Owen Sullivan has spent the school year learning what exactly it is that makes a good photo. He learned that multiple aspects, such as focal points and angles, all work together to capture the viewer's attention.

"My family goes on a lot of summer road trips to places like Yellowstone and Yosemite so I like to take nature closeups," Sullivan said. "I think nature is something a lot of people like so it's not too hard for them to see the effort and time I put into taking the photos."

While admission to the show is free, photography pieces will be for sale making the show most of the student's first experience actually earning money from work.

"They are seeing that the effort they put into school has a payoff in the end," Parham said.

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