Last Sunday at Featherstone Center for the Arts, visitors watched a claymation video where two balls of clay magically morphed into dancers performing a quiet waltz before finally collapsing into each others arms. It was a mere minute-long clip, but the human emotion resonated long after.

The film was part of a photography and multimedia reception for Truda Silberstein, a senior at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Speaking at the opening, Truda said the collection of her work over her high school years was reflective of the photographer she’s grown to be. The photographs celebrate the human form while raising questions about how bodies are presented in the world, she said.

“Most of the images are about the way we perceive ourselves ... and what we are showing the world.”

In her photographs, parts of the body are covered or highlighted by body paint and Truda noted how the paint can either become part of the pattern of the body or disguise it. She called her friends “good sports” for being her models. Other prints celebrated the natural form — a dancer in mid reach, two braids intertwined together in Umbilical, a seated girl among the trees.

Visitors were also asked to participate in a performance piece and read words off a computer screen while being filmed. The goal was to catch the expression of words like “love” and “silly” in a public setting.

Truda’s teacher at the high school, Chris Baer, has worked with her since she was a freshman and described her growth as an artist over the years with one word – confidence.

“She’s thinking about ideas more than images and that’s an important bridge to go over,” he said at the opening. “She’s really talented. I take little to no credit.”

Truda Silberstein
Paint and body merge in Silberstein’s work. — Truda Silberstein

Eight of Truda’s photographs are in the running for national prizes this year, some of which have already earned her the top-level commendation in the 2012 Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards. Truda is also the photography editor for the student newspaper, the High School View, and this year’s yearbook editor.

The show is Featherstone’s annual tradition of supporting high school artists during the month of March, and the show continues this weekend with Holga Heaven. Students in Sam Hiser’s after-school photography program at Featherstone, ranging from seventh grade through high school, will present their black and white photographs taken with the plastic vernacular camera.

This week Mr. Hiser said the “plastic toy camera” is a great beginning camera because of its restrictions.

“The Holga is a limited camera and that’s why we use it ... it doesn’t have any control over aperture or shutter speed, there’s only one setting, you have to choose your film speed correctly and match it to your situation,” he said.

The Holga forces the students, Coco Brown, Eleah Caseau, Ben Gordon, Isaiah Rain Maynard, Raine Monast, Sadie Parr and Tessa Whittaker, to put away the “hipstamatic” applications on their smartphones and engage with their surroundings.

“They go out in the world, engage visually and emotionally and get something and they bring it back in,” Mr. Hiser said. “Vineyard kids have a lot of equipment and a great environment to work with.”


Truda Silberstein’s show runs through Saturday, March 10. The Holga Heaven show opens on Sunday with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. The show is open daily from 12 to 4 p.m. through March 16.