Teaching in the Woods


Theres something exciting about a new place, its people, and the experiences there that bring a fresh perspective to life and get the creative juices flowing. That perspective, and the darkroom facility at Belvoir Terrace, set the stage for some great photography and teaching moments!

In it’s 65th year, Belvoir Terrace, is a Performing and Fine Arts camp for girls in The Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Set in those hills, the students do incredible things! Working all summer, the six week program culminated in performances on stage, in theater, and my favorite: under the orange glow of the darkroom light.

I am immensely proud of the work that was made by both advanced, and first-time Black and White photographers. I am also pleased with the adaptability of young artists. Coming from their digital world, to the woods, without their cell phones and Instagram filters, they learned where those imaging effects originated, and found joy in mastering them with their own two hands. Of course, they also found ways to play, using the tools ‘incorrectly’ but to their own creative ends:

BW SUMMER_Leah Marquardt 2018

These filters are supposed to go in the enlarger to add contrast, not on the photo paper – BUT – this is what is so brilliant about learning and youth – with respect for the tools and the rules – students can find justifiable ways to break them, and teach the teacher a thing, or two, or three. Whee!

With a pile of gratitude for the opportunity granted to me to teach in this very cool place, and for the students who taught me that inspiring others can be a challenge, but is so worth the reward.

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