ArtsJul 28, 2023

updated Nov 13, 2023

An Eye for Photography

Two MHS students recognized in national contest

(Attempting Unity — Idia Enoma ’26)

Idia Enoma ’26 didn’t think much of it when Photography Teacher Jen Morris suggested she submit photos to a nationwide competition.

“I just thought I would go for it. Why not?” recalls Idia. “Then I forgot all about it, actually, so I was really shocked when I got the email.”

Jen Morris

Idia and Solitaire Niles ’23 both had photographs selected for the online exhibition curated as part of the “We The Place” National High School Open Call, sponsored by the BFA Photography and Video Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

The national contest aims to give voice to up-and-coming creative talents in photography and video. “We The Place” showcases a range of perspectives that explore issues around identity as it relates to location, and the contest’s online exhibition featured only 250 entries selected from high school students nationwide.

And, Idia’s photo — “Attempting Unity” — was one of only 50 nationwide selected for publication in a printed collection compiled as part of the exhibition! It is an image of the sculpture Orange Functional, by artist Alexandre Arrechea. Idia’s digital photograph was taken during the Expressive Arts Weekend on a trip to the renowned sculpture park Art Omi, in nearby Ghent, New York.

Solitaire made her selected silver halide photogram print in the MHS darkroom. The piece is a part of a series of images that reflect upon the vast quantities of plastic we have created and disposed of in the ocean. All of the items used to make this print were made of plastic trash.

The idea was sparked from a Photo II brainstorming session exploring Solitaire’s passion for taking on climate change and pollution. At Ms. Morris’s suggestion, Solitaire started working with photograms — a photographic image made using darkroom processes, but not a camera.

Plastic Ocean(Solitaire Niles ’23)

“What I most liked was how easily I could rearrange the pieces of the paper to make new designs,” explains Solitaire. “I also liked the way I could mimic the pollution with crumpled plastic wrappings.”

Always happy to have a camera in her hands, and passionate about both digital and film photography, Solitaire truly enjoys the rewarding experience of working in the darkroom. “I love watching the photo develop once you first put it into the chemicals,” she says. “The process can sometimes be very long and frustrating, but it’s definitely worth the work.”

A Photo I student this year, Idia submitted three photos to the contest. All of the photos were taken during the weekend trip last fall to Art Omi.

(Idia Enoma ’26)

“I thought all three represented freedom and creativity and were all unusual things that you don’t see in everyday life,” says Idia, who will take Photo II this fall and Filmmaking next spring, and who has enjoyed delving deeper into photography during the last year.

“What I like about photography is that anyone can see a photo, but there will always be the original thought the photographer had when they took the photo, and that’s unique,” she says. “Also, the emotions you can convey in photos can be very powerful.”