Preparing Boys for Life

Digital Art students capture Ikebana at Longwood Gardens

In Kristin Brown’s Digital Art class, students learn about digital photography, graphic design, and 3D printing. As part of their current photography unit, they’re progressing from camera functions, to editing in Photoshop, to creating video.

First, students learned about composition – framing, pattern repetition, leading lines, and then about the camera and its processes, like aperture and shutter speed. They were given an opportunity to apply these lessons during a field trip to Longwood Gardens. Students were tasked with shooting at least 100 photos in an hour to document Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.


“As a student from China, I really enjoy the sense of peace and tranquility created by the Japanese artist, because I understand the subtlety in the culture behind these artworks,” said Daniel Hou, Form IV. “I came to realize that the light and shadows of photos really make a difference in what the photographer tries to express, so I experimented with different aperture and shutter speed to pass on the sense of peacefulness via photos.”

When they returned to campus, the students printed contact sheets with their photos and gave each other feedback on which photos best represented the rules of composition. They then learned how to do some light editing with Curves and Levels in Photoshop and also abstracted some of the images, resizing them and inverting the colors to create a kaleidoscope-like effect.

“I believe that in photography, more can be better,” said Brown. “The exercise of taking a high quantity of photos and then editing them down helps students keep producing and generating ideas.”