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Photo Students Partner with Multiple Disabilities Class to Showcase Beauty

Posted on: October 28, 2014
MHS art show - students with disabilities

Internationally-acclaimed fashion photographer Rick Guidotti has photographed many of the world's most elite super models. He began focusing his lens on the beauty of those who have genetic, physical, and behavioral differences, which has inspired millions around the globe to reinterpret the meaning of beauty. Guidotti shared his work and message with Milford High School photography students in September.

To further extend Guidotti’s message into the high school curriculum, a Photography I class partnered with Milford High School’s multiple disabilities classrooms to learn about the differences and similarities that connect us all. Through this connection, the photography students learned about the technical aspects of portrait photography and explored the idea of real beauty. A celebration of beauty photo exhibition featuring all of the portraits and reflections on each student was held at Keiser Photography in Old Milford on October 23. Enthusiastic parents, students and community members filled the studio.

In addition to creating beautiful portraits, building relationships and friendships between Milford high Schools photography 1 class and students with disabilities was a positive outcome of the project.

“I was nervous when I first met John, who is nonverbal. I wondered how I was going to make him smile. We learned he likes beads and were able to use beads to get him to smile and look at the camera,” said Leah Breuer. “Before I had never really talked to the kids in the MD unit, but after this project I know all of their names and I say hi in the hallways.”

Milford High School photography teacher Janelle Schunk, who came up with idea for the photo project, said it exceeded her expectations.

 "I didn’t realize it would have as much meaning for the families of the students with disabilities. They were so appreciative and thanking the student photographers,” Schunk said. “My photography students felt validated and valued for their talents. It really brings home that what they are learning in school can be transferred to real life.” 

Special thanks to photography teacher Janelle Schunk and special education teachers Leah Sears‎, Lottie Bernard‎ and Jerry Comello for their hard work on this successful collaboration. We also appreciate Keiser Photography for hosting the exhibition.

Note: All of the photography students wrote personal reflections about their partners. We will be adding these reflections with each of these photos below during the week of November 3.