Presenting at the Education for Liberation Conference


This weekend, students involved in our upcoming public art project presented work at the 2015 Education for Liberation Conference. This is a yearly conference presented by TAG Philadelphia, which is a local organization that many of our teachers and students are involved in. Our session was titled, "Youth and Identity, Writing and Photography." We had an amazing turn out of students to share their writing and photography, and a packed house of participants to engage in the discussion. We were able to share our inspiration and plans for the project, samples of work made so far, and student-read examples of essays and poetry. We also created an art project within the session, where we shot and printed portraits of all participants, and had them write and share their own Six-Word Memoirs on the prints. Check back soon for more info on our upcoming project, and thank you to everyone who came out.

- Mr. Kleiman + Mr. McGeehan

Participants wrote Six-Word Memoirs and wrote them on portraits taken and printed during the session.

Participants wrote Six-Word Memoirs and wrote them on portraits taken and printed during the session.

We almost filled up the room by ourselves!

We almost filled up the room by ourselves!


We're super excited to announce that our new publication, Stitched, has been printed! We've updated the blog about this project before, and it's great to finally hold it in our hands. This was the first project that we did using the Kensington High School Archive. The book compares students from the 1940s with modern day teens. It's just the start of working with our collection. If you'd like us to send you a copy, write us a message in the contact section!

- Kensington CAPA Photo Class


Barbara Kasten: Trip

Last week, our class went on a trip to the Institute of Contemporary Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. We went to the ICA to see photography and other work by Barbara Kasten. Her work was different from most photography that we usually look at in class. Her most popular work is made of abstract sculptures that she builds in her studio, which she photographs using colorful lighting. She also had beautiful examples of cyanotypes, which we will be experimenting with in class soon. After, we walked around the campus of Penn, which was very nice. We had many questions about college life. Sometimes it's nice to leave school for a day to explore the world around us in our own city.

Yesenia, Grade 10

Barbara Kasten, Construct 32, 1986

Barbara Kasten, Construct 32, 1986


On Tuesday, with the warm weather, we finally were able to go outside and take pictures. We focused on reflections in puddles of ourselves, other people or even a scenery that we saw & enjoyed. So we started from our school looking for puddles that were left over from the rain and melting snow. There weren’t to many puddles left over because it was getting pretty sunny and dry outside, but we managed and were able to find some. Most of the puddles were muddy and murky looking. We were still able to catch some reflections which brought us the nice photos that we have up now. Overall it was a very nice day to go outside and we all did enjoy it together.

- Tijenna, Grade 11

Side Lighting

In our lighting unit, our class has been experimenting with single light setups. We've been taking photos where only one half of a subject is lit. This is an example of low key lighting. To get side lighting we used a dark background and a single light with a reflective umbrella. The subject had to face towards the light in different ways to get this effect. What we were really looking for is light fall-off, where light fades from light to totally black across an image. We think these images look professional, and were surprised at how simple this setup could be.

Thalia + Sisco, Grades 10 + 11

Old Kensington / New Kensington

Recently in photography class, we’ve been looking through old Kensington High School yearbooks. We have a large collection of books, photographs, film, and other material from the schools' history, way back when the school was an all girls high school in the 1940s and 50s. We began with trying to match the girls in gym class to the girls in the yearbooks; they wore bloomers with their names sewed on them. Once we found the girls we learned new things about them from reading their quotes, nicknames, school activities, and what they wanted to do when they were older. Our class wants to make a book exploring connections between the Kensington of the past and the Kensington of the present, and this is a first step.

- Lewis + Nissa, Grade 10

Softball team, Spring 1946. Digital Scan

Softball team, Spring 1946. Digital Scan

Our class sorting our collection of yearbooks

Our class sorting our collection of yearbooks

Lighting Unit - Silhouettes

A silhouette is a picture where the subject is dark and featureless, and the brighter background shows a clear contour of the subjects edge. One thing we learned is that silhouettes used to be very popular before photography, when people traced outlines of shadows to make an image. We talk silhouette photos by having our subject in front of the main source of light we are using illuminate the background. We can also simply find a bright background, like the sky or the window in a dark room. Before we learned about silhouettes, we didn't think it was possible to create a one with a camera. We are not finished with this section of the unit, but we're excited about our work so far.

- Kristy, grade 11