The Desert Light November/December 2018 - Page 6

Chasing photography became a passion but passing it on to the next generation was
the way she chose to share her talents. Kathleen went on to teach photography
at a Chicago city school for thirty-four-years. As an art teacher, she helped young
underserviced children learn about capturing images. Her assignments often centered on
her favorite subject, light. “I’d say, go find light beams, play with silhouettes, embrace a sun
flare, and do your best to create spherical aberrations.”
Many times, the students would return a week later with stunning photojournalistic
images. Before digital cameras took over, Kathleen would oversee up to 289 kids in a rag-
tag darkroom on a daily basis. There she witnessed her student’s joy as their images came
to life in the photo trays. Many times, they would carry their work home to put up on a
wall for their families to see. “The darkroom was my happy place, and I think it was a place
for those kids to be happy too.” Like all outliers, Kathleen spent more than 10,000 hours
teaching and learning in the darkroom thru her students, becoming a master of the process.
During the short summers, Kathleen and her husband would spend time on the road
photographing national parks. It was on these trips that Kathleen began to find her voice.
“I began to formulate this theory. Essentially, it goes like this. I like simplicity. When
KelBaker Road