Krista Kooker, Jessica Kahler, Madison LaRose and Danielle Andrews mount their artwork in Gig Harbor’s City Hall a few days before the exhibit’s opening on Dec. 1. Photo by Hugh McMillan

The quality of the photography on display at Key Peninsula Middle School over the past few years is professional-quality art and is the product of seventh and eighth grade students in teacher Mike Hunziker’s digital photography class.

At the desks of a room filled with computers, these kids are creating wonderful works of art from the digital photos they shoot on campus. Hunziker encourages innovation, creativity, imagination, and a drive for perfection in all his kids. And he gets it all.

The last day of November at Gig Harbor’s City Hall, Hunziker and four of his students met Gig Harbor’s public relations expert, Laureen Lund, for a hanging of some 100 examples of this art for a show that had its grand opening Dec. 1 and will continue through Jan. 26. The photos are almost all in color and in a variety of sizes.

Do not miss this show!

Jessica Kahler poses in front of photos taken of her by Madison LaRose. Photo by Mindi LaRose

Hunziker explained that it was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Waters Edge Gallery in Gig Harbor, which contributed all the expertise and labor to mount the art, the Gig Harbor Kiwanis Club, which provided over $1,000 for mounting and matting materials, Mindi LaRose, who managed the grand opening, Laureen Lund and all the wonderful people at Gig Harbor City Hall.

One of the artists, seventh grader Madison LaRose, said, “When I saw Digital Photo on my (school) schedule I got very excited. Now digital photo is something I think about daily. Everyday I see at least 50 things that I really want to take pictures of. I hope my digital photo pictures will continue to grow as I get older.”

Hunziker currently has two digital photo classes at KPMS and will be teaching digital photography next semester as well. He said, “The kids complete several projects in class. Basic photography including wide angle, telephoto, zoom, and fish-eye lenses; auto setting, aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and other special settings; use of flash; basic compositional elements focusing on form, shape, texture, pattern, perspective, framing, cropping, and the rule of thirds; photographing people including portraits, with props, candid, personality, getting in close, cropping, sharp angles, B/W, and sepia; macro and close-up photography; photo editing in PhotoShop, and action photography (time permitting).”

Many of the photos capture candid images of youth. Photo by Rodika Tollefson

“I have so many good experiences with digital photo,” said eighth grader Jessica Kahler, whose work is also on display. “Besides becoming a great photographer, I also have become a pretty good model. Digital photo has been the best experience of my life. It has shown me how to open up and let out my creative side and not be afraid to show it! I have taken shots that I didn’t even know I was capable of.”

Before starting each of the projects, students sit through one and a half to three hours of instruction. “The kids work in groups of three, each group with a camera. I encourage them to experiment and be creative, to see things differently, to learn from each other, and to think before they shoot. I want them to have fun while at the same time learn to be better photographers,” Hunziker said. “I am very proud of the work my students produce.”

You’ll understand why when you visit Gig Harbor’s City Hall. The show is mind boggling!

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