In 2009, Amy Flatow was hired to run the long-standing darkroom program at William Alexander Middle School 51 through the NYC Department of Education. Since then, she has expanded the program to include an extensive digital lab.
Middle school students are at a stage of “in-betweenness” that is both uncomfortable and ripe with discovery and experimentation. Welcoming this transitional stage, Amy Flatow encourages her students to explore their own interests and identities, teaching a dual darkroom and digital photography curriculum at William Alexander Middle School 51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
The hashtag #filmisnotdead has emerged in recent years as a rallying cry to fight against the over-digitalization of photography. The middle school art environment is the perfect, if unlikely, place to introduce the medium. Students who come into the classroom take hundreds of images on their phones each week, yet they often don’t understand the necessary role that film has played in the history of image-making. While seemingly antiquated, the groundwork of analog photography offers a logical first-step toward understanding the medium’s endless possibilities.
Throughout her tenure at M.S. 51 (as it is known locally), Flatow has and continues to curate winter and spring exhibitions of student work both at the school building and around the community. 95 of her students exhibited in 39 corporate exhibitions through Arts Connection, nine students have exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through PSArt, fifteen students were selected to exhibit work at the Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival, 105 students received citywide Scholastic Art Awards, seven of whom were further recognized on the national level, earning both students and their teacher four national Scholastic gold medals.
When she isn’t teaching, Amy Flatow is hiking with her husband Max (a professional photographer and alumnus of the M.S. 51 photo program) along with their two little boys.
Amy Flatow has a BA from The Rhode Island School of Design and an MAT from Tufts University in conjunction with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.