Photography class takes a snapshot of Beaver Island life

Picture captured by Melanie Mrozek during the class.

Picture captured by Melanie Mrozek during the class.


In an interesting twist on a photography class, a CMU art professor left for Beaver Island with 15 honors students and a five day lesson plan.

The students were asked to explain the narrative of day-to-day life on Beaver Island, using nothing but pictures they took on their smartphones.

CMU Professor Al Wildey instructed the class on their week-long trip to the Island.

Wildey says the course was much more than a simple photography 101 for honors students.

“We’re trying to combine visual literacy, visual communication, oral communication, contemporary technology, and the students personal experience and combine them in a way where we’re teaching them something that’s grounded in significant historical precedent, but then applied in a contemporary way that’s meaningful to them.”

He says the class was born from an urge to keep students engaged with relevant material.

“The last thing that I would want a student to believe is that what they do is not significant. It’s not important or not impactful. So I wanted to offer a program that wasn’t just something we talk about in the abstract, but that was applied in a way that it had real significance to them in their daily life.”

Wildey says the apex of the assignment was a 24-hour photoshoot where the students captured more than 10,000 pictures.

To get a glimpse of what they captured visit here and go to the bottom of the page.