Cherokee High School students have a new outlet through which they can express their creative sides.

The CHS Photography club was newly formed this academic year and has given the participating students a chance to expand their skills. In the past, the school had a photography club complete with a dark room and space for developing film, but, unfortunately, that was phased out several years ago.

“We were looking at old yearbooks and found photos of a photography club,” said Syd Lilly, one of the club’s founding students. “We thought that, if the school had a photography club then, we should start one again.”

Both of the club’s founders have been interested in photography for quite some time.

“I got my first camera when I was seven, and I’ve been interested since then,” founder Carson Rice said.

“I would always take pictures on my sister’s little digital camera,” Lilly added. “I finally begged my parents for a real camera, and they got one from a pawn shop. It was a kind of Fujifilm that they don’t even make anymore, but it got me started.”

They both are primarily self-taught and learned most of what they know from their own internet research and trial and error.

A new challenge every time

One of the beauties of the club, as its faculty advisor Andrea Ferraro explained, is that much of it is student-run.

In fact, Ferraro explained that the students even set a new challenge for themselves at each meeting. Every other week, the club chooses a different subject to photograph. Each member then brings their work back to the next meeting for the group to analyze and discuss.

“It gives everyone a chance to experience photography from some angle,” she said.

“The first challenge was just to show something that made you interested in photography,” Lilly said. “Then, we had a ‘show your own style’ challenge. Now, we’re getting into challenges where we take a certain object or subject matter and show what we would do with it in a photo.”

“This week, we had to take a picture based off another piece of art—whether it be music, literature or movies,” Rice added. “Then, we bring it back, show everyone, talk about it and analyze it.”

Exploring new spaces

The club also took a trip to downtown Knoxville at the beginning of fall semester to put their new skills to use and capture new scenery.

Though the weather was less than ideal on the day of the trip, the students were still able to enjoy Knoxville’s Botanical Gardens and Arboretum and snap photos of the city’s rail yards.

The students explained that, eventually, they hope to take a larger trip and have their sights set on San Francisco.

“We’re just kind of dreaming right now, though,” Ferraro said of the trip.

As far as concrete plans for the rest of the school year, she went on to explain that the students hope to get involved in local competitions and “get their names out there.”

About the photographers

Included along with this article are several photos from three club members and the club’s faculty advisor.

Andrea Ferraro is an English teacher at Cherokee High School and amateur travel photographer. She sponsors the Photography Club, The Yearbook and BookRiot.

Syd Lilly is a Senior at CHS and co-founder of the photography club. Syd’s main interest right now is setting up shoots and trying to “blur the blacks and whites of the world.” His future plans are to attend an art school, get a BFA in photography and hopefully work for a magazine company such as Vogue.

Emily Wolfe is a Sophomore at CHS. She would like to have her own family photography business, and she likes the idea of a photograph capturing a cherished moment forever.

Carson Rice is a Junior at CHS and co-founder of the photography club, and she prefers landscape photography to portraits. She hopes to attend NYU in the fall of 2021 and continue photography as a hobby.