It has been 91 years since the first television was invented, 78 since the first computer, and 41 since the first cell phone. Researchers like Teresa Belton of the University of Education at East Anglia agree that the advent of modern technology has taken a toll on the human ability to be creative. Free time is more often spent in front of an electronic device rather than on activities that promote thought and imagination. One club in particular made it its sole purpose to foster creativity and expression through a simple camera lens.
“Creativity is the one thing that makes us human,” Photography Club co-sponsor Janet Roller-Schmidt said. “If you look around you, everything in this world has been created by an artist of some sort. Photography is a universal language, a type of emotional stimulant that can reach everyone.”
Although most are unaware of the impact photos can have on everyday life, members of the Photo Club recognized the importance of creative expression.
“Images have this power to convey deep emotional connections that, often times, even the best writers cannot find words to express,” sophomore Nupur Bahl said. “Photos affect the way you see yourself and the world around you.”
The technical details of photography may seem daunting to an aspiring photographer, but co-sponsor Matt Gawlick looked past the camera buttons and focused on his voice coming through his pictures.
“A picture isn’t worth 1000 words, it’s worth more than 1000 words. My pictures say more than I can,” Gawlick said. “There’s something exciting about having a vision, taking a picture and seeing not necessarily how the picture turned out, but rather how you, your feelings and your imagination, are shown in that picture.”
According to Roller-Schmidt, Photo Club achieved this level of high creativity on a weekly basis by viewing photography as not only a visual historical record, but also a response to the environment and a medium of expression.
“You don’t have to go to Paris, London or Rome to take engaging, inspiring photos. You can take them right here at Hinsdale South,” Roller-Schmidt said. “As a club, we look for students’ strong suits in certain areas of photography and encourage them in that direction. Art is all around you. Look closely.”
Sophomore Ambika Sharma, who enjoyed Photo Club’s trip to Waterfall Glen, preferred being behind the camera because of the opportunity it gave her to express herself.
“I’m shy. Photography is the best way to find something within myself and the best way for me to channel my emotions,” Sharma said. “On the trip, I realized that there are things I can see through my lens that other people wouldn’t notice. Photography forces you to give attention to detail.”
Seeing that the appreciation of creativity has dwindled in past decades, freshman Brendon Gabriel joined Photo Club to learn more and inspire others through his own photography.
“Anyone can be creative, but nowadays not everyone takes the time to sit and smell the roses,” Gabriel said. “In the club, we get to share our experiences and everything from what we do to how we do it.”
Belton and others feel the pressure to encourage early development of creativity and emotion, in fear of a technology-dominated lifestyle. Modern technology will continue to grow at the rapidly expanding rate at which it is, but the diminishing value of creative expression is what may truly change the world.