The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Seeing Life in Black & White: Fayette's photo class 2007.11.28

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When Fayette art class students head into the darkroom with a roll of film to process, they’re taking a step into the past.

Developer, stop bath, fixer, water wash—hardly anyone follows that routine anymore.

Instructor Ryan Colegrove knows he’s teaching the proverbial dinosaur, but it’s still a good beast to have around. Even in Fayette’s art classes, however, film is probably heading toward extinction. When classes move into the new school, digital photography will take over.

photo.class.colegrove.jpgFormer art teacher Tom Spiess remembers starting up the school darkroom in 1971.

“We had a Yankee enlarger, three trays and a developing tank,” he said.

At the time, the darkroom wasn’t at all a permanent fixture.

“We used the girls rest room across the hall from the boiler room,” Spiess said.

During the class period when the darkroom was in use, a student would be posted outside—both to warn a visitor that she might want to use another rest room and also to prevent an open door from exposing film or photo paper to light.

Spiess has the satisfaction of knowing that over the years a few of his students took their basic skills with them and went on to use photography after graduation.

It wasn’t a class for everyone, but many students found it fascinating.

“Some of them would get intellectually involved in the process,” he said. “Even kids who were generally considered trouble-makers were paying attention.”

The magical process of watching an image appear on a white sheet of paper captured the imagination of most students, but not everyone was comfortable in the darkroom.

“I used to tell them, ‘If you go into the darkroom, your hands are going to smell like feet,’” Spiess said.

Spiess remembers that Fayette was the first school in the county to have a darkroom and Colegrove figures it’s one of the last.

By the time he took over as art teacher from Spiess in the 2000-01 school year, a permanent darkroom was in place in the art room.

Colegrove was pleased to continue the tradition. He learned about photography in Spiess’s art classes and he studied the art further when he earned his teaching degree at Defiance College.

He appreciates how the photo class can offer an art experience to a wider range of students.

“It’s always been nice for kids who wanted to be in art but weren’t really artistic,” he said, referring to the drawing skills used in art class.

As far as processing and printing goes, it’s more of a technical process where a prescribed set of steps is followed. Still, a student needs an eye for capturing the image before the darkroom work begins.

Colegrove offers a variety of class projects, ranging from sports action shots to portraiture to landscapes. Darkroom techniques include sepia toning, solarization and high contrast printing.

When students move on to his advanced class, they’ll learn about the electronic darkroom using Photoshop software.

“Photoshop has made some of the more difficult techniques a one-click process,” Colegrove said.

And in the ever-changing world of digital photography, some processes, such as sepia toning, are now done right on the camera.

Photoshop opens up a new world of darkroom control, yet something is lost that a few students miss.

“Some kids who go on to digital still want to do some darkroom work,” Colegrove said.

But for most students, the instant gratification of a digital camera wins them over for good.

“In this day and age, people want to look at the back of a camera and see the result instantly,” he said. “Black and white photography is going to be a thing of the past.”

In the new school, Colegrove expects to  expand on the digital work and bring web design into the curriculum, but he can’t let the dinosaur die off completely.

The darkroom has to be approached with a different attitude now, Spiess said. It can only be taught as a historical process.

“We were on the leading edge when I started it,” he said, “and when I retired it was on its way out.”

On its way out, but not yet extinct.

There’s a closet in Colegrove’s new art room that could serve as a temporary darkroom and he’s going to bring along one of his enlargers.

“We’ll still do some work with film,” he said. “Some of the kids really enjoy it.”

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