Holmes Students Capture 1st Place in National Instant Photo Contest
To most of the Holmes Junior High students, the definition of an instant photo was probably a digital one posted on Facebook or Instagram right after taking it. In an instant, that changed when art teacher Jennifer McMillan entered them in the FujiFilm Instax Instant Photo Fun Sweepstakes – a contest that provided instant photos on film, as in the Polaroids of past.
Holmes students took home first place in the contest, which was open nationally to teachers in the United States who teach grades 6-8. The public announcement of the winners will be made on January 17.
“I decided to enter the contest because I have always been passionate about photography,” said McMillan. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to expand my students use of photography and to increase the variety of resources available to them in my classroom.”
The goal of the contest was to use photography as a way to inspire learning. Teachers were asked to submit photos and an explanation of how they were using photography in the classroom. In early November, Holmes students received three Fujifilm Instax Mini Cameras and a case of film for entering the drawing.
The entries she submitted to the contest showed her students posting an instant photo of themselves with their displayed artwork. The photo captured the artist posing, their name, and a statement about that particular piece of artwork.
“The students loved the opportunity to try out the cameras,” said McMillan. “Many of the students had never seen an instant photo before and were confused at first that the film emerged from the camera without an image on it. It was amazing to see their faces light up as their image slowly began to form in front of them.”
On January 4, McMillan was notified that her students won first place in the national contest. The prize package was another Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 camera, a case of film, and a Fujifilm Share Printer.
McMillan already has plans for the prize package, including using the cameras to photograph items that demonstrate the various Elements and Principles of Art, expanding photography units to include instant cameras, showing students how to compose an interesting photo, and creating a gallery wall of instant photos outside her classroom.
Both the teacher and the students enjoyed the journey to first place in the contest. McMillan said she was most proud of the hard work of her students. “Many of them come to me having doubts about their artistic abilities, but they come day after day and give 100%,” she said. “I feel good knowing that my students have created work that they are proud enough of to display for everyone to see with their photo right beside it.”
Winning the contest inspired students, too. Sixth grader Annalyse said “using the cameras helped me because I want to be a photographer,” and sixth grader Tara said, “It was fun and challenging at the same time.”