Aldergrove Community Secondary School (ACSS) photography students showcased a semester’s worth of work at Langley Arts Council’s grand opening last week.
The 35mm film exhibit, entitled “Change the Narrative,” sought to examine places that “built and shaped [the students] into the person they are today,” said Stephanie Martyniuk, an interim ACSS photography teacher.
“All places featured in the frames are places around ACSS,” said Martyniuk.
The black and white photographs – developed in the school’s darkroom – were hung in two sections in the foyer of the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre leading up to the main hall.
“I had a high bar for exhibition. When students were submitting things to me they needed the print to have contrast and to have a clear message,” Martyniuk said. Alongside the photographs were the student’s artist statements, detailing why they chose to capture that particular space and moment.
Grade 11 student, Dori Grahamova, showcased a photograph of the school’s counselling centre couches where she spent a lot of time after her father passed away from cancer last April.
“If something reminded me of him I could just go and sit there for a few minutes,” Grahamova explained.
Martyniuk admitted that as a teacher, it is “heartbreaking” to hear some of the hurdles her students face during the school year. Though, she has found the counselling centre a good spot to send students in need of rest.
“You get kids from various social groups doing various things in the centre. It’s a safe space for kids to relax,” Martyniuk said.
Another student and avid ice skater – Paige Abbott – chose to submit a photograph of the old Aldergrove Arena. Abbott happened to take pictures of the rink she grew up skating in the day it was set for demolition.
“She came back to class crying announcing, ‘Ms. M, the rink is gone… but I’ve got photos’,” Martyniuk said.
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Another student chose to capture the Milsean Shoppe, a historic former fire hall that sits between 29 Avenue and 272 Street.
“She was able to capture a moment in history,” Martyniuk elaborated, “a lot of the students realized how important this community is to them during the assignment.”
Alana Bunt, a grade 12 student, captured a strikingly clear image of a dimly lit hallway.
“Me and my friends sit against these lockers every day. It’s a time we use to get to know each other,” explained Bunt.
The unique exhibit, hosted by the Langley Arts Council’s new Aldergrove space, celebrated the student’s technical abilities as well as their “personal connections to a place and community they are really proud of,” Martyniuk finished.