Two aspiring photographers get the camera fixed on them at the Al-Rahmah School photography club. Photo courtesy of Adil Zaman.
Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, Al-Rahmah school students are also taking photography lessons, through a new afterschool club.
Combining his passion for photography and his students, Br. Adil Zaman, a middle school social studies teacher started the afterschool club this year. As part of an effort to offer middle school students a way to express themselves artistically while in a supervised Islamic setting, Zaman and his fellow middle school teachers came up with the idea to offer middle school students two clubs: photography and drama. The drama club is led by teachers Sister Taihissa Abdel-Aziz & Sister Deborah Cason,.
“I often noticed my students drawing pictures in their notebooks during their free time in class or at lunch, and wanted to provide them with a setting in which they could really let their ideas and imagination take off,” said Zaman.
The club meets once a week for an hour. Currently, the club is for 8th grade boys only, but next month, when students return from spring break, the boys club will end and approximately 10-15 enthusiastic girls will join. Sister Taihisaa will assist Zaman with the club.
So far, the students have learned the basics of SLR film photography. “We use film because it teaches students to give more thought and consideration to each shot they take, knowing that there is no delete button,” added Zaman.
After learning how to adjust the basic settings of the camera, from the shutter size to the lens aperture, students are learning composition, including basic photography concepts such as rule of thirds. They then take their gear outside, trying out several different types of photography, ranging from landscapes to portraits.
In addition to a nominal fee, most of the equipment is purchased secondhand through online sites like Ebay. Zaman has also donated some of his equipment. There are also plans to raise funds through bake sales.
The school administration, including Principal Laura Abdul-Rahman and Sister Donna Khan, administrative assistant active in student activities, have shown support for the club. Some students are hoping to take their photographs to future MIST competitions.