Monday, February 8, 2016

Fifty-Two // Gabby Kudron

Last week, I made a surprise visit to Fullerton High School to go say hello to my old photo teacher, Mrs. Kudron, and ask her if she would be willing to help me out with my Fifty-Two project. She has been following along with it, but I don't think she was ever expecting to be a subject. She responded to my request with a big, bright smile, and a half laugh, "MEEE?!" I'm not sure if she gets photographed often by former students (or if she gets photographed often at all), so she seemed a little surprised. The only challenge I faced while photographing her was getting her to wipe that smile off her face-- after every two or three shots, she would burst into laughter. I took additional photos of her where she isn't smiling but I decided to only include the smiling shots because they illustrate Mrs. Kudron the most accurately. 

I began taking photography in grade 11. I think I had a couple of open elective credits to fill, so I opted for Beginning Black & White Photography and Yearbook. Mrs. Kudron was my teacher for both. At that time, my only experience with photography was with point and shoot 35mm cameras and taking pictures of my and my friends when we would go skate. I remember the first time we stepped into the dark room. I remember it was kinda cold, it smelled funny, and it was crowded. I was intrigued, but something about it felt a little 'ehh' to me. She demonstrated how to use the enlarger and I thought to myself, 'Is this going to be too challenging for me?' 'Is this going to be something that I enjoy?' And then she took the photo paper and put it in the developer tray. As I could see the image appearing on the paper as she rocked the tray back and forth I was in complete awe. I felt like a little kid who saw magic for the first time. I went out and bought a used camera the very next week. It wasn't required for the course, but I didn't like the idea of checking out a school camera based on availability. I wanted my own camera so I could shoot anything, anywhere, anytime. I became the unofficial photo editor of the yearbook class (we didn't assign titles to anyone in the class, we were all contributors. If I remember correctly, and I'm sure I do, Kudron didn't like the idea of a hierarchy system, she wanted us all to be equal and do our fair share of captioning, photographing, layout design, etc). I would ask the other students if there were photos they needed because I wanted to go out and get the shots for them. 

My senior year I took Advanced Black & White Photography, Yearbook, and had a special Independent Study slot on my schedule that allowed me to take another photography class that didn't actually exist. Kudron had met with my counselor and principal to put in a special request-- she noticed how enthusiastic I was about photography and used that to our advantage. A couple months into my senior year, I went out and bought another camera. I was committed to this hobby I had, and Kudron was committed to seeing my do my best. She really got me started off on the right foot.

I've got so much more I want to say about high school photo/Mrs. Kudron, but I don't want to end up rambling on and on so instead, enjoy the photos: 

Look at that jabroni. She's had that photo on her cabinet since 
it was taken in 2002. The sticker was added in 2010 or 2011.

This is a bonus picture that I couldn't exclude because it is
a perfect picture of Kudron. Although she was my 'teacher'
this is how I viewed her. As a fun, goofy, woman who just so
happened to be my teacher. 

Thanks for looking. I still gotta figure out what I got going on for this week before I take off to Minneapolis on Saturday. I did take some photos yesterday of a friend, I just haven't decided if I'll use them for this or not because the intention of those photos was for her portfolio, not my project. We'll see though because without even going through them yet, I know we got some good stuff.

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