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Passionate photography students to get big city experience

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PABLO – A shared passion for capturing images with light will link reservation life with the inner city as 12 Two Eagle River School students travel to New York at the end of March for a once-in-a-lifetime photography experience. 

Area photographer David Spear is coordinating the trip and is excited for photography students to take their skills out of the classroom.

“When I contacted people in New York, they were very excited about the project and our students visiting,” Spear said. “They have openly offered to share their passion for photography with us.”

Spear has taught photography at Salish Kootenai College since 2002, and has taught at New York University and the Maine Media Workshops. He also developed “Our Community Record: Two Eagle River School on the Flathead Indian Reservation,” which encourages students to explore and document their community, culture, and history through storytelling and photographic studies. Spear wanted this year’s students to get a general idea of what a future in photography could look like.

“The idea of this trip is to have young people, who are invested in photography, get a general idea of the photo business,” Spear said.

Two Eagle River School students will be touring The New York Times, New York University photography program, Aperture Magazine, International Center of Photography, and the photo collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

They will also attend two different photography classes where they will have the opportunity to learn from more experienced artists.

One will be an advanced photojournalism class taught by New York photographer Joseph Rodriquez. The second class is a portrait class taught by Editha Messina, where TERS students and NYU portrait class students will do a studio session photographing each other.

 “We will also create peer to peer partnerships with the Lower Eastside Girls Club participants and our students, so they will make photographs together and tour parts of New York as partners,” Spear said.

The students have raised $12,500 for airfare and secured housing through a donation from the Lower East Side Girls Club. On Wednesday, March 2, Two Eagle River School will be hosting a New York themed dinner and showcase of the photography students work to raise money for other expenses throughout their trip. Community members can pay to eat and also have the opportunity to bid on quilts, drums, and other items to help support the students’ trip.

Two Eagle River School English teacher Rebekah Knudsen-Dalbey will be one of the chaperones traveling with the students. She is pleased to see these kids getting an experience off the reservation.

“The majority of our students don’t get off the reservation,” Knudsen-Dalbey said. “All but one of our students have not been on a plane before … this trip will be life changing for them.”

Students will travel to New York City on Saturday, March 26 and stay a full week. 

Student Alexia Parizeau is especially excited to tour New York City.

“I’m most excited to see all the sights,” Parizeau said. “We get to see the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, and hopefully Times Square.”

Other students include Tristan George, Whisper Michel, Nina Hernandez, Lee Atwin, Xavier Smith, Taelyn Lafley, Mars Sandoval, Nikki Burke, Jenna Mullaney, and Esperanza Orozco-Charlo.

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