Elliot’s instruction inspires students to pursue photography

Tori Brown & Victoria Sunkel, staff writer

Photography teacher Amie Elliot captures her passion for creating art through her unique teaching style and methods of connecting with students.

As a teacher of 19 years, Elliot describes her teaching style as learning through discovery.

“You have to learn the basics before you can go off in new directions and create something totally original,” Elliot said.

According to Elliot’s students, her teaching style gives them the freedom to learn on their own. Freshman Tommy Hagerty, who took Photos 1, was positively affected by her teaching style.

“She really lets you go out and almost learn all by yourself with her guiding you the whole way,” Hagerty said.

Students claim her laid-back style makes her easy to connect with. Elliot readily spends her free time helping students with projects for her class or outside of her classes.

Senior Olivia Kane, Photos 5 student, credits her success as an artist to Elliot’s extra help.

“In those independent study classes that I had to fit into my schedule because I didn’t have room for a photos class, [Elliot] would teach me during her free periods and assist me and guide me in my photos project,” Kane said.

However, Elliot gives equal help to students of all levels and abilities. According to her less-experienced students, she helps them get the feel of new skills and techniques throughout the course.

“One time at the beginning of our series of film projects, we needed to learn how to load our film onto the roll inside the darkroom,” Hagerty said. “After several destroyed rolls, I asked Ms. Elliot to help, and for a few times she would go into the room with me until I finally was able to get the feel of things and successfully load the film right on time for our final projects.”

According to her students, there is huge improvement in their skill levels from the start to the end of the course.

GBS graduate Atticus Ludwig began his photography career in Elliot’s class and is now studying at The Art Institute of Chicago.

“I went from snapping pictures whenever I went on vacation to working with film and my hands and chemicals in the darkroom,” Ludwig said. “It really piqued my interest from the get-go.”

Elliot not only aids her students in photography, but in other areas of their interest as well. According to Kane, she owes her future in art to Elliot’s guidance.

“I had Elliot review my photos [for my AP Art portfolio],” Kane said. “I actually ended up applying to AP Art and I made it. Without her guidance in picking out [the art in] my portfolio, I probably wouldn’t be in AP Art today.”

According to Elliot, her helping nature is fueled by her passion to show others the world in different and unique ways.

“I hope what they do in class retrains or teaches their eyes to look in another way,” Elliot said. “[I hope what they learn] teaches them to look at the world with a different perspective.”

One perspective Elliot can easily see the world through is an artistic and visual perspective. Dave Hill, woodworking teacher, described a time when this talent of Elliot’s made an important impact on a Homecoming float design shaped like the house from the Pixar movie Up.

“We struggled with that house design because we wanted it to really look like it was flying,” Hill said. “When you have an artistic eye [like Elliot’s], you change the proportions and the perspectives on things […] she [has] that.”

Despite her passion and experience, Elliot does not consider herself a professional artist.

“A professional photographer would be somebody who makes money from their art, and that again takes marketing and takes ambition in that direction,” Elliot said. “I feel like that is not my skill set. I am the creator, not the seller.”

However, she does plan on continuing to create art throughout the rest of her life.

“The process of making [art] is wonderful,” Elliot said. ”There is a sense of accomplishment, [and] there is a sense of pride.”