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Young photographers

Abby's portrait by Emily.

Ten young photographers, who participated in a summer photography course at the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, will fill the main gallery with their work in August during the exhibit “Young Photographers V.”

OCFAC board member Cliff Emery taught the class, which was offered in July to students in grades four through eight.

The students learned everything from the principles of composition and lighting to how to take portraits and group photos. Participants included Dylan Snelgrove, Madison Garick, Abby Conner, Kendrick Small, Carmen Quay, Ashley Rice, Gwen Williams, Jackie Williams, Sara Proett and Emily Hughes.

A reception featuring poster-sized prints of their photos will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, at the Fine Arts Center. The public is invited. The exhibit runs through Aug. 31.

“It’s really been a fun event. The reaction has always been terrific. The kids get the total art experience from creating the art to having it shown someplace,” Emery said.

Technological advancements have made teaching photography different, he said.

“With the kids today, you don't have to teach them today about f-stops and reading a light meter and developing because nobody does that anymore. Everybody has a phone, everybody has a little camera. It seems like everybody takes pictures all the time,” Emery said.

He said he focused on the basics of taking a good picture with whatever device the kids chose to use, including tablets and cellphones.

“I said, ‘Let's do a simple class on how to frame a picture, composition, how to use light, how to take a group shot and how to take a portrait shot.’ I don't know all that technical stuff so I just didn't focus on that. I just focused on helping the kids,” Emery said.

He added, “I’m trying to encourage them to have a creative eye. Pay attention to your surroundings. That’s what the people who I know are really good photographers do.”

The exhibit has been a good forum through which to display the students’ talent for the past five years, Emery said. Three works from each student will be on display at the exhibit.

"There's some good work. Photography, in my mind, is like art. If you can create a beautiful piece of photography, you're creating artwork and, if nothing else, you're a momentary historian. You're capturing that little moment in time for your history,” Emery said, noting that the students tap into their creative side with the class.

“One of the kids in this class shot a lot of stuff on an angle. She had interesting angles going on. ... One kid last year took a picture of an aunt, and it was one of the most beautiful portraits I've ever seen. These kids just surprise you,” he said.

For more information about this and other programs at the Fine Arts Center, call 803-536-4074.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD


Staff Writer

Dionne Gleaton has been a staff writer with The T&D for 20 years. She has been an education reporter, regional reporter and currently writes features with an emphasis on health.

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