Fresh Take: Photography at SPHS


Paloma Welch

Photo classes are a great way to change a person’s artistic view and “see things from a different perspective.”

The arrival of a new photography and art teacher has brought about a refreshing change to the photography program. Rachel Koral arrived at St. Petersburg High School just this year and has boosted the photography program dramatically. Photo classes are fine arts-based and utilize studio photography and Photoshop editing.  

In photography class, students learn about the basic principles of art and design. Students explore compositions through experimentation and functionality. Classes are based on Ms. Koral’s motto, “anyone can take a photo, but not everyone can take a photo.” In photography class, a photo is more than just a snapshot. The course aims to take students’ skills to a new level. The skills students learn in photography can be utilized for the rest of their life.

In Pinellas County, there are 13 shows a year. These shows are held in local museums and galleries, such as The Museum of Fine Arts, The Morean, The Dali, and The James Museum. Having work displayed in one of these shows is a tremendous honor, as only very few pieces make it in. Pieces can be done in any medium, from 3D sculptures to paintings. Each high school teacher can choose five students to be anonymously adjudicated for the show. At least one student from St. Petersburg High has been featured in every show so far this year. This is a grand accomplishment that could only have been achieved by the hard work and dedication of Ms. Koral and her students. Alana Smith was given a high excellence award in the Dali art show and was featured out of 115 artists. 

Scholastics is an event that is very important to Ms. Koral; it is a national art competition that has 16 different categories of visual art. On a regional level, 14 students from St. Pete High made it in, a fantastic accomplishment! Of the 14, eight received a gold key, one received a silver key, and five received honorable mentions. Those awarded a gold key have the chance to celebrate Carnegie Hall in New York this summer.

Koral’s students take much pride in their work and enjoy working on projects; “[photography] is a great way to expand your artistic abilities and see things through a different lens.” Photo classes are a great way to change a person’s artistic view and “see things from a different perspective.” Although photo classes take time, effort, and skill, students still enjoy creating pieces. 

The newly invigorated photo program has been such a success at St. Pete High and could not have been done without Ms. Koral. The program will continue to thrive in the coming years!