Visual Arts Instructor Kathy Rea received the Anne-Marie Jenks Excellence in Teaching Award this past year, allowing her to take a 10-day photography workshop in Italy and travel in Europe with her daughter over the summer. The award has been given annually since 2013 to provide a faculty member with the opportunity for professional development. Rea had been meaning to get into photography for a while, but had never been able to push herself to do so.
“I knew I needed the proper instruction and guidance along with a solid chunk of uninterrupted time to simply immerse myself in the process of taking photos with it,” Rae said. “This workshop offered me both the time and the instruction that I needed to do just that.”
The photography workshop Rea participated in was based in Cefalú, Italy, a small medieval town on the north coast of Sicily. Rea was one of nine photography workshop participants. Rea and the other participants were assigned a new project every day, while evenings were dedicated to group critiques of each person’s photographs from the day’s outing. Though Rea found some aspects of the workshop to be challenging, she was ultimately able to pick up some valuable new photography skills.
“The most challenging aspect for me in using a digital camera is in understanding the reciprocal relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how those adjustments work together to affect depth of field and motion blur in various light situations,” Rea said. “The more I learn, the more I realize how much there still is to know about the process of using a digital camera, but at least I feel a little more comfortable with it now.”
Rea also learned a lot about herself as a photographer during the workshop.
“I set out on this trip with a specific list of photos that I wanted to take to illustrate different elements of architecture and design, but I found I was much more interested in seizing a moment, documenting some aspect of the amazing culture and history or the rich texture of the landscape, or just trying to create a good composition,” Rea said.
Rea was ultimately very happy with the experience and said she can already see how it might influence her teaching other visual arts at Marlborough.
“I have lots and lots of new ideas swirling around in my head for taking parts of images I captured along with bits of ephemera collected from my travels and combining them with drawing, painting, printing, stitching and other mark-making and collage techniques.” Rea said. “No doubt, some of these ideas will inadvertently spill out of my head and land at the feet of my more advanced art students to be offered up as possible assignment suggestions for their personal use and interpretation.” π