CHS photographers say their craft can be a form of art, just without the paintbrush


Allie Beekman

The 2017-18 Visual Mass Media Class practices taking photos.

Liam Umbs

CHS is one of the most artistic high schools in Monmouth County. But even though artists of all types make up a large percentage of its student population, most don’t immediately think of photography as an art form. In a survey of 115 CHS students, 47 percent said painting was the first form of art that came to mind, but only 10 percent said photography.

To non-photographers, photography does not seem as difficult as other forms of art.

“A lot of people can just pick up a camera,” said freshman Belle Decker of Monmouth Beach. “It’s easier to be good at photography than painting.”

This is largely due to the fact that many cameras, especially those in smartphones, have the capability of making anything look like a professional picture. For novices, all it takes is one press of a button.

But for sophomore Leigh Lustig of Manalapan, an active member of Photo Club, photography is much more than just one simple action.

“You have to set up your picture, just like you would have to for any other form of art. You have to plan it out, you have to get your background, you have to get your camera, which is like your paintbrush in this sense, you have to edit, which is like you making touch-ups on a painting,” Lustig said.

Senior and Photo Club president Alyssa Rasp of Hazlet said she agrees with Lustig about the work that goes into photography, and specifically editing.

“Taking the photo is honestly just the start of the end result,” Rasp said. “You have to go through and pick the best shots, fix the coloring, lighting, everything that may not be up to your standards, then you have to retouch any imperfections in the photo. It takes a lot of work to create an amazing photo, so having a good camera or phone doesn’t guarantee a good photo.”
Both experience and natural talent play roles in how a photo will turn out. Rasp has been shooting concerts at The Stone Pony for the past year, something she said is brand new to her.

“If you looked at the photos from that first show compared to the ones I’m shooting now, there’s a huge difference in not only quality, but the style and composition of each photo,” Rasp said. “When I was shooting with no experience, my photos were mediocre at best. Now that I’ve done multiple shows, I can see a huge improvement.”