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MOUNT VERNON — Sharing hobbies and side passions is often underappreciated in the everyday hustle of modern life. However, the Knox Technical Center, the adult education branch of the Knox County Career Center, has brought hobbies into the limelight with their community classes. The six-week digital photography class, led by instructor Bruce Stewart, held its end-of-class Photography Expo Tuesday night on the KTC campus, where students were able to show off all that they learned about their favorite hobby.
Stewart has been an avid hobby photographer for most of his life, he told the News, starting after his mother took a photography class in 1959. Eventually, he became his high school’s yearbook photographer and editor, where he developed his own dark room and bought his own camera. Stewart incorporated his history with photography into his display at the expo with some of the cameras and photographs he has taken in the almost 60 years he has enjoyed the pasttime.
“I’ve just enjoyed it as a pasttime and I’ve constantly done it throughout my life, with raising my family,” Stewart said. “And I’ve had the opportunity to come on board here at the Knox Technical Center and share my interest and my love of photography with others.”
“It’s truly fun to sit here and sort of look at the work that these students have done and to see how far they’ve come,” Stewart said. “We struggled through some things like exposure, shutter speeds, ISO, but they’ve gotten it. They learned it.”
Stewart explained that he encouraged his students to use their photography as a way to share perspectives from their own lives.
“I’ve tried to share with the class that your photography and your view of the world is based upon your life,” Stewart said. “And go and find that, share that with others.”
Student Margaret Fawcett has used her new photography skills to share her love of family and nature with many portraits of her grandchildren and trips to Honey Run Park. But it all began with a nice camera she didn’t know how to use.
“I’m not sure why exactly I bought the camera, I think it’s when I started having grandchildren,” she said. “I always used to shoot on automatic with it, and it made nice pictures, but now I don’t have to do that. I have other skills that I can use and I have more control over the lighting, how I want things to look, the depth of it now. It’s just the beginning, I still have a lot more to learn.”
Fawcett said that Stewart has encouraged his students to find areas that they are passionate about and continue to explore and practice photographing them.
“I’m going to practice for the next year or so and then I’m going to take his next class,” Fawcett said.
Family was a common theme for the photography students as Whitney Beougher found inspiration photographing her family — her 4-year-old daughter, Eisley, in particular.
“I made it too complicated at first, I thought I had to have all of this time set aside, but then I realized that wasn’t realistic,” Beougher said. “Then I started taking my daughter along with me and shot things as we hung out and did things together. So whether it was having her dress up and play in the yard and every once in a while shooting a picture while we’re playing together or taking her to go see some horses and shooting that. So, it just became something we could do together, which was really fun.”
Beougher has always had a draw toward photography, she said, but it really began right after high school, when her parents bought her a digital camera for graduation.
“I love people and I love portraits,” Beougher said. “I love the characteristics you see on people’s faces and I wanted to be able to find a way I could move toward capturing that better. I feel much better than I did before.”
Stewart will be offering an intermediate photography class through KTC next year, which will go more in depth with some of the themes and subjects the beginner community class offered.
The community classes offered by KTC vary by demand of classes and the availability of instructors, Monica Hite, administrative coordinator explained. Classes range from hobbies like crocheting and ballroom dancing, to CPR and First Aid; and even resume boosters, such as Excel, QuickBooks and the Microsoft Suite.
“If anybody has any ideas for classes, we try to find instructors, if we get enough people interested,” Hite said.
Instructors are usually members of the community that have an expertise, Hite said, like Stewart and his life-long passion for photography.
For more information on the community classes offered by KTC contact Monica Hite at 740-393-2933 ext. 1104 or by emailing email@example.com. More information is also available at www.knoxtechnicalcenter.com or https://ktc.coursestorm.com.