‘Our View’ 2016 is a digital spin off on the 1991 hardcover book

CRMS students publish first photography book on the people and places in Camden-Rockport

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 2:45pm

    The book is out! Our View 2016: Camden and Rockport, Maine as Photographed by the Eighth Grade Class of Camden-Rockport Middle School just dropped on iTunes as a free download.

    As originally featured in our story, Twenty five years later kids photograph a ‘Day In The Life’ of Camden-Rockport, this 86-page photography book is the result of a trimester long interdisciplinary study around community, self-expression, and digital media.

    The project was an update to the original publication published in 1991 by the seventh grade class of the the Mary E. Taylor Middle School and funded by Eastman Kodak and Youth Arts.

    In the introduction to the 2016 ebook, CRMS Technology teacher Ian McKenzie said: “Twenty five years later, many things have changed in Camden and Rockport. Mary E. Taylor Middle School is now called Camden-Rockport Middle School. 35mm cameras have been largely replaced with digital cameras on phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. Fashions have changed. Many of the businesses and faces in our respective towns have come and gone. Students live faster paced lives and don’t always have the time to slow down and appreciate the world around them; however, when they do have that chance, don’t always take advantage of it.”

    The whole point of the photo shoot was to get kids to slow down, reflect and appreciate a changing world around them.
    Much of the book’s photographs revolve around nature and landscape photos. “We sent students all over, up Mt. Battie and Beacuchamp Point the Snow Bowl so any photos of people you see are just going about their normal workday,” said McKenzie. “It was at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in October, so there weren’t that many people around.”
    There are still quite a few portraits of people in the book; the result of McKenzie coaching the students for two hours beforehand on how to approach strangers as a photographer.
    “We did a lot of prep work with that with a lot of practice on how to introduce themselves, explain what the project was and role play on what to say,” he said. “We wanted to make them come across as professional as possible. For all of the people in stores you see, there were a lot of stores who didn’t want us to take photographs in, as well, as a number of people who didn’t want their pictures taken, which is understandable. That was the other part of it, how to be gracious with rejection and how not to intrude in other people’s lives. The kids just had to get over it quickly and move on.”
    Here are some of the students’ reflections on why they chose certain photos.
    The cover photo by Will Thorn
    “I liked how the project was flexible and you didn’t have take pictures of just one thing. You could take whatever pictures you wanted.You see things in a different way through taking pictures that you might now have noticed before.”
    The waterfalls in Camden by Jason Leblond
    “This spot is important to me because it’s near the water, where I like to hang out. It’s calm and relaxing there. I wanted to frame it with the greenery and have the water on the third line.”
    The sun obscured by the Maidencliff cross by Bella Gallace
    “I think that the picture says that our community has a  lot to see, like mountains and lakes and it’s relaxing."
    James Lea, clockmaker by Caden Sawyer
    “I thought that he was a cool guy with his clocks. He told me that people send him clocks from California because there are not a lot of clock makers anymore. I like how the picture had both him and his clocks with him. He was really interesting." 
    Paul Joy, owner of Stone Soup Books in Camden by Nate Stanley
    “I chose to take his picture because he owned the bookstore, and it expresses small town nostalgia that is genuine and not created by a big company. I wanted to take a picture that kind of expressed that this was a one man operation.”
    “Our View” 2016 is now available for free download on the Apple iBooks store, as well as a PDF version on the Camden-Rockport Middle School website.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com