Austin Robichaud ’15 and Alex Pareto ’15 never expected that a casual conversation while waiting in the pizza line in Paresky Commons would result in a photography club working to benefit Andover’s Need Blind initiative. Nevertheless, Robichaud and Pareto started Andover Photography Club (APC) in the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
“As student photographers ourselves, we knew that there was a great wealth of student talent at Andover and a lack of a network for them to share and showcase their work,” Pareto wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
He continued, “We were tossing around ideas when the thought of an online gallery fully composed of student photographs came up. The gallery hit all the right marks: to showcase student work and to promote photography on campus. We could even sell prints of the photographs and then donate the money to a worthy cause.”
The site hosts hundreds of student-captured photographs that can be purchased in a variety of forms. APC sells prints ranging in sizes and styles as well as photographs in the form of mugs and t-shirts.
APC donates all of its profits to Andover’s Need Blind Initiative.
“Need Blind is an initiative that all everyone can get behind, something that we all support for the future of Andover,” said Pareto. “Our supporters know that with every purchase they make not only will they receive an incredibly unique piece of artwork created by Andover students, but they also help provide for the next generation of Phillipians.”
In the short time since it was formed, APC has already caught much attention, most notably from “The Andovers” magazine, a quarterly lifestyle publication geared towards residents of North Andover and Andover.
According to Robichaud, the feature by “The Andovers” started when the official Phillips Academy Andover Facebook account featured APC on its page.
“The plan is to feature the club in a section of the magazine called ‘Parking Shots’ along with a few images submitted by our club members. We’re looking for winter imageries to go along with the season, preferably featuring off-campus locations,” wrote Robichaud in an email to The Phillipian.
To encourage submission to the online gallery, the club kicked off their debut year with a photo contest. After the board collected over five hundred submissions, many of which can be viewed on APC’s website, Sam Hall ’06, a professional photographer, judged the images. The winner received either a camera lens or gift card of equal value to be used towards a photographic purchase.
Using low exposure and burning steel wool, Eliot Zaeder ’17 shot the winning photograph. The image was a mesmerizing and intricate image of the fire against the silhouette of a man.
Honorable mentions were awarded to Lauren Luo ’16, who submitted a photograph of Burmese monks, and Krishna Canning ’16, for his close-up portrait of a frog in water.
“I really look forward to getting more opportunities to share my work with others through more APC photo contest and magazine features. In the future, I’d like to see APC gather a collection of the members’ best photos and create a gallery book of some sort,” said Luo.
APC tries to meet on a daily basis. While emphasis is currently being placed on the online gallery, Pareto and Robichaud hope to host more regular meetings and workshops in the future.
“In the winter and spring terms we bring our focus to generating exposure for our photographers through the vast network of alumni and supporters that Andover has,” said Pareto.
Robichaud added, “We’re also always looking for new ways to engage our members through meetings and seminars, as well as create opportunities for them to showcase their work. We hope APC will continue to be a club that promotes photography and the arts on campus for a long time to come.”