Photography is a passion for Staples High School art teacher Jonathan Nast. Equally passionate about the art form are the 15 budding photographers in his new advanced digital darkroom class, which launched this year.
Previously, digital photography students looking to further their skills from the digital darkroom class had no options, except for limited independent studies, Nast said. But all that changed last year when the advanced digital darkroom class was approved by the Board of Education.
"The demand for the advanced course came from students and guidance," said Nast, a four-year teacher at Staples. "Digital darkroom is a popular course: it's always full, plus one, so that's what created the demand."
Nast, who also teaches the beginning photo and digital darkroom classes, said teaching an advanced course to students with serious interests in digital photography has its rewards.
For starters, Nast said, "There is a valuable student-teacher bond" that comes from teaching the students he had in the digital darkroom class, the prerequisite to the advanced course.
"I can push them to the next level," he said. "It's great to watch them develop their own artistic vision."
Teaching a group of students who not only share a common interest, but also are in a class because they want to be, is truly rewarding, he said.
"Students enrolled in the advanced digital darkroom class have made a conscious decision to further explore electronic art," Nast said. "As a result, they demonstrate an increased motivation, enthusiasm and professionalism associated with their artistic endeavors."
But whether he's teaching the basics of photography or advanced camera techniques, Nast said he finds rewards in teaching all levels of students.
"Ultimately, it is the students that make teaching both a challenging and rewarding profession," he said. "Fortunately, the gratitude of generating both student enthusiasm and an appreciation for an art medium is well worth the effort."
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