Virtual Digital Photos

Sag Harbor Union Free School District
Students photographed themselves in a car’s side-view mirror.

This year, Sag Harbor Union Free School District’s fourth and fifth-grade annual digital photography exhibition will be hosted by Guild Hall of East Hampton from June 18 through August 1. Sag Harbor Elementary School art teacher Gary Osborne said the project has been running for 17 years.

“We do not want to break a tradition where the community is able to experience the students’ artwork and to train their eyes to see beauty in nature and our surroundings through the children’s digital photography,” he said.

Professional photographer and Sag Harbor Elementary School artist-in-residence Clarence “Shep” Sheppard is teaching the students the technical concepts of digital photography to highlight an object reflective of their “shelter-in-place” experience. The fourth-graders’ project theme is everyday objects in quarantine, and fifth-graders’ is developing masked portraits.

“The photos will tell a story about the times that we are living in right now,” Sheppard said.

Anthony Madonna, the Patti Kenner Fellow in arts education at Guild Hall, reached out to Osborne in April to ask what his institution could do to help continue to showcase student artwork, and his team is currently retooling the Guild Hall website to host the online gallery.

“Especially at this time, students may feel that they are creating in a void,” he said. “But by exhibiting their work at Guild Hall, where some of the most famed and storied artists of the Hamptons have exhibited, online, for anyone, anywhere to see, this collaboration instills an additional excitement and esteem for the work they are creating with Shep.”

The digital photography project is made possible in part by the Reutershan Educational Trust, a privately-funded art program created by Sag Harbor resident and architect Hobart “Hobie” Betts. Pierson High School art teacher Peter Solow, who coordinates the trust, said the school also hopes to bring the physical photography exhibition to Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library in the fall.

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