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Archive for Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Photography students document day-to-day life in Japan

August 20, 2002

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When Free State High School students Tara Sloan and Jackson Morley traveled to Hiratsuka, Japan, with the Sister Cities Exchange Program, their cameras almost never got a break.

The students' photographs of Japan are being displayed throughout August at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

"I did basically document everywhere I went," said Sloan, a Free State senior. "I took photos of anything that was interesting there, which was everything."

Morley, a Free State graduate who will attend Kansas University in the fall, was excited at the opportunity to shoot photos in Japan.

"It was the only chance I'd have to go in a couple years, and Japan was some place I was interested to see," he said.

"Everything (in Japan) is different than it is here," Sloan added. "There is so much new stuff to see. Here sometimes you have to look for stuff to photograph."

The students shot what they call "street photography," which they defined as "a slice of street life."

Morley said the photo he shot that he liked the most is a night shot of the sky line in Hiratsuka, Japan. Sloan said she couldn't choose a favorite from among her collection of Japan photos.

The students learned to shoot color photographs correctly through the Pelathe Youth Employment Program's Foto Loco class taught by Lawrence photographer Gary Smith. This will be the last year for Foto Loco because the Kansas Arts Commission has cut its funding.

"It's just a shame," Smith said of the funding cuts. "It was a very strong program."

Morley and Sloan have enjoyed photography since junior high, but they said they learned a great deal from Smith. That's why they said it was unfortunate the program will be discontinued at least for the next few years.

"This class has helped a lot," Sloan said. "There is more personal attention."

Morley said the techniques he learned from Smith were different than the ones he learned in photography class at school.

"I would have never had the opportunity to learn color photography," Morley said.

Smith said he has already begun working on finding funds to restart the program, but he expects it to take several years. Hopefully, he said, funding from the Kansas Arts Commission will be renewed so other students like Morley and Sloan will have the opportunity to learn from him.

Smith said it was especially rewarding to see the finished work of his students.

"I must say I am delighted with (Morley's and Sloan's) enthusiasm," he said. "These are excellent color photographs."

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