Expressing Creativity Through Photography


Emily Ross

Emily Ross uses her resources and surroundings. in order to capture this neat image.

Taking a photograph seems to be such a simple task, when in reality there is so much meaning behind any photograph that is professionally created by its artist. Whether it’s placing objects a certain way or having a specific type of lighting, a photograph is able to tell its own story that can be inspiring. Creating photographs in unique ways to teach students to think outside the box and let creativity flow is something Mrs. Balko finds the most rewarding when it comes to the art of photography. 

Mrs.Balko, a teacher at Greater Latrobe Senior High, teaches the photography course and enjoys enlightening students about all the ways photographs can be captured and how to find an interesting subject. “This year so far, we have made pinhole cameras and that includes capturing negative images on light sensitive paper and developing them in chemicals in the dark room to create our negative images which are in black and white and the colors are reversed, then we use the light fixator to create the positive images that are still in black and white but the colors aren’t reversed anymore,” Balko said. Pinhole cameras were created in the class using a Quaker Oats can and required no technology to capture the images.

Balko has also had students complete another project involving the dark room and using light in order to create some interesting photographs. “We have also created photograms which are cameraless images that are also created with light sensitive paper and this involved students to use random objects to create a story on the paper and required them to think outside the box a little bit,” Balko said.

Students in this course have now shifted to using actual cameras, but even though they are using technology, they are still using some old school techniques when it comes to taking some photographs. “We have now moved on to our film unit in which we are using film cameras and expose film in the and after students have taken their photographs then they will develop them in the dark room as they have before with previous projects and then they will make some prints from their negative images,” Balko said.

Senior Emily Ross enjoys using her skills that she has learned in the class to create beautiful photographs. “Photography has taught me how to have a good eye when it comes to taking photos and I know different parts of composition now that go nicely with my photos and all together I feel like a better photographer,” Ross said.

Ross also enjoys the challenges that she has to overcome in the class and getting to use her mind to let her creativity flow. “What I enjoy about this class is that we have our own creative freedom when it comes to completing projects and I like to go find different scenes to take my photos,” Ross said.

When it comes to bringing an image to life through photography, certain elements need to be within a student taking the course in order for the image to be generated with genius. “I think it’s important for students to have a good eye and just to know the basic elements and principles of art. They should also know about good composition to know how to create a good project in the end,” Balko said.

Overall in the class, Mrs. Balko finds guiding her students through any part of photography to be delightful, but there are certain aspects in the course that become the most gratifying to her. “I think working in the dark room is the always the best part of the class because it’s not something that students usually experience on a day to day basis and I think that it’s just magical to watch everything come together when the images are being developed and students get to see their vision come to life,” Balko said.

Working in the dark room has become such a routine for Mrs. Balko that she only doesn’t find it the most interesting part of photography, it has become her favorite thing that’s a part of teaching the course. “I love working in the dark room because I love to see students create new ideas with their artwork every year and some of the images that they create and all of their ideas inspire me as an artist, “ Balko said.

Mrs. Balko’s photography class initiates all of the endless possibilities when it comes to capturing an image or how to make a vision come to life through this type of art. Her experience with seeing her student’s faces when they are in awe of all the effort and thought that they put in has paid off when it comes to creating a photograph proves how people should think more about the meaning behind every photograph they see because it could have an intriguing story behind it.