Ava Racich’s Striking Images Set the Stage for Oak Knoll’s Inaugural Art Exhibition

Under the inspirational guidance of Photography Teacher Lisa Rosen, Oak Knoll’s Honors Photography students were set a creative challenge: capture at least three hundred artfully composed images during their summer break. The fruits of their labor were so breathtaking that Rosen felt compelled to launch a series of “art openings” to showcase this remarkable body of work. The inaugural exhibition, “Images from the Greek Isles,” graced the walls of the Oak Knoll photo lab on December 14, spotlighting the extraordinary talent of Ava Racich ’24.

Racich had the good fortune of tackling the summer assignment while visiting the Geek Isles with her family. Traveling through Athens, Santorini, and Paros, she was drawn to the striking contrast between Greek architecture and the ubiquitous deep blue sky that often blankets the country.

“I’m drawn to a lot of negative space,” explained Racich. “I shoot a lot of photos featuring that.”

Negative space photography emphasizes the subject and the empty space surrounding and defining that main subject. “There’s a lot of vivid blue in the Greecian sky, and with architecture or other objects in the foreground, I think that creates a fascinating contrast.” 

Racich’s grandmother was on hand to enjoy her exhibit. She and a large group of Oak Knoll students, faculty, and staff attended the opening. “I am so proud of her,” said Grandmother Teresa Maple. “She did an absolutely amazing job.”

In addition to showcasing the students’ talents, Rosen believes that preparation for a gallery show has instructional value in itself. 

“I wanted the students to think about creating a body of work instead of just individual images,” she explained. “It really adds something to their learning to get reactions from others. Also, faculty can see other aspects of their talents. They may have these students in other subjects and have seen them in class but don’t know about talents that have been less publicized.”

Jane Finney ’24 and Elise Wojie ’24 also participated in the summer assignment and will display their images at openings later in the academic year.

These Honors Photography students now have curated images that can go into a portfolio for college admissions if they pursue photography in higher education. Past Oak Knoll photography students have obtained fine arts degrees from distinguished schools such as the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. 

Photography is one of many classes in Oak Knoll’s extensive Creative Arts Department, including Digital Music, Dance, Voice, Public Speaking, Fine Art, Music Theory, Stage Combat, and Technical Theater. Students may also participate in numerous choral and acting ensembles that perform throughout the year in the Mother Mary Campion Center for the Performing Arts.