Today’s teens are exposed to the harsh realities of life at an earlier age than previous generations. Society is different and in this economy the not so pretty side of social issues, such as homelessness, are observed and maybe even experienced by some youth. Through thought provoking photographs, a dozen advanced art students in Terri
Steinhorst’s art class at Eagle Point High School had the opportunity to express their feelings on the current economy. The stunning photographs were shown at the Rogue Art Gallery in Medford, garnering many accolades, and will now be a traveling exhibit, said Ila Selene, Family Support Liaison of School District 9.
Three of the students shared their feelings on their photographs. Senior Brittany Swanton was intrigued with a young man who seemed to be the same age as her peers and could have been a fellow student but instead he was selling his plasma for money. The title of her artwork is “The Wait—Trading Plasma for Pennies.” In the photo a clean-cut looking young man is sitting on the sidewalk waiting patiently for his turn to sell his lifeblood, causing one to ponder what brought him to that point in his young life.
Photographs by Senior Emma Sherman and Junior Austin Boyd dealt with the uncertainty of the shrinking value of money. Sherman’s picture is a scattering of change on a Monopoly game card and is titled, “Cash or Credit?” Some have questioned the meaning behind this photo but it does what it is intended to—make people think of a faltering economy. Boyd’s photo is of a $20 bill in black and white. Titled “Our Grey Economy” the photo expressed his thought of “no one knows where this economy is going and it is just grey without much depth.”
Swanton, Sherman and Boyd have all gained awareness through this assignment of how the economy has affected people. Learning from adversity, all three will pursue higher education after graduation from high school. After talking with the homeless, Swanton wants to help other people and will study anthropology which is about other people and cultures, she said. She finds the many sub-cultures in society to be of interest. Sherman will study philosophy and political science. Although she likes photography, it will remain a hobby.
Boyd said he enjoys a stable economic situation but now feels it could slip away at any moment and he could be like others who are not as lucky. Although Boyd is into photography, his main interest lies in video production and he feels he has a skill he will improve on. Currently the inspired Boyd is working on a DVD for Selene that teaches how to deal with low-income and homeless students. Selene said she will use the DVD as she goes around the school district working with her clients.
“The economy and how I see it” was a project to build awareness in the community of those otherwise overlooked. “The message produced by the photographs was really powerful. We are all in this together,” said Selene. She feels satisfaction the project was a success and “it gave Medford a chance to see what Eagle Point High School could do.” Projects like these encourage youth to stay in school and Selene is an advocate that those with talent should use it —don’t do nothing,” she says. For information on resources available for families and students in all walks of life go to Selene’s website: familiesonthefaultline.com.
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent