More Than The Click of a Button

Friday, November 27, 2020 - By: Jensa NG, Mackenzie ‘23

A photo. A picture made using a camera, in which an image is focused onto film or other light-sensitive material and then made visible and permanent by chemical treatment, or stored digitally.

But that sounds boring.

A photo is so much more than the click of a button. “A good image makes you feel something” postulates Mr Paul Fletcher, Brentwood’s Photography Instructor.

Brentwood students have had the opportunity to shoot traditional photography, digital photography, and everything in between since 1985. At my house, we joke about the fact that on one hand, the Yearbook Instructor, a novice photographer who has taken an online course or two (and happens to be my father, which is why I can joke about it) needs to get a 300 page book together by the 20th of May to represent the lives of over 700 people. And on the other hand, we have Mr Fletcher, an award-winning, professional photographer, who many students are lucky enough to call their first, second, third, or fourth block photography teacher.

If the fact that Mr Fletcher is willing to sit in a classroom for four hours straight, helping students load their camera after having taught them multiple times already, does not speak to his dedication and love of photography, I do not know what would. Mr Fletcher has worked tirelessly at Brentwood for over 19 years. So, you best believe that no matter the student, or how much they know coming into the school, Mr Fletcher will have something to teach them.

As a novice photographer who knows nothing more about taking pictures - other than that I enjoy doing so - I was eager to see what Brentwood Photography is all about. I had heard from past students like Sophia B, Mackenzie ‘22 that “It is a great way to focus on taking the perfect picture and nothing else.”

So I decided to see for myself.

Our first project was a scavenger hunt. We had roughly four classes to shoot 36 photos. The photo above is my “Looking Up” photo. Once this assignment was done, we left for midterm break with loaded cameras. As we awaited the return of our photos from the processing lab, we started shooting in black and white. Mr Fletcher taught us how to capture different shades and emotions.

Once our rolls were full, we moved on to the stressful stage, in the darkroom, where most mess-ups take place. Luckily we made it out unscathed, each with a developed roll of film.

Photography teaches you organization, how to capture special moments, and how to see the world through a different lens. Photography teaches you that a picture is more than the click of a button.

Jensa NG, Mackenzie ‘23

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