Marjorie White gave 12 boys cameras and let them loose on the world. Instead of pandemonium, the Cub Scout den leader and her troop created a disarming photo exhibit, now on display at the Carroll County Arts Council.
The 9- and 10-year-old Webelos of Den 7 earned communicator badges for their work, and they are showing 36 of their best photographs at the council's Westminster gallery.
Before working on the merit badge, most of the boys never had clicked a camera. They soon found themselves snapping pictures everywhere.
"We carried cameras with us all the time," Jason Stone said. "We took pictures of whatever we thought would be good for our exhibit."
Ms. White asked the boys "to tell a story with their pictures. I knew, if they put their energy into the project, they would get people interested in it," she said.
The black-and-white photo exhibit shows those stories in a series of pictures that appeal to all ages.
The boys found inspiration in their homes, on vacations, at the park and the ball field. They captured their families, their pets and those memorable moments in sports on film.
"We went over some basics of angle and light," Ms. White said. pTC "Then, I left them on their own. I wanted these pictures to reflect how the kid saw something. I even sent a note home and asked for no parental influence."
The amateur photographers tackled the ordinary in a new light and dared to shoot the unusual. Jay Westerlund took an underwater shot.
"I got somebody to jump in the pool," he said. "As soon as I saw bubbles, I shot."
Jason, surprised that all his pictures turned out, had a hard time deciding which photos to put on display. He definitely wanted one of his dog and also his favorite picture: an action shot of his own feet dangling on a glistening sliding board.
"Those are some big feet!" he said of his picture.
His twin brother, Clinton, also took an action shot: their mother exercising in the family room.
Brian Adams titled a picture of his crawling baby brother "The Critter Is Loose." Andy Haifley went for a still shot of a mail truck.
"I just liked the way it looked," he said.
Michael Sirian went on several family outings camera-ready. His entries include a "cool old car," a baby alligator and a pie-eating contest with his grinning sister diving into blueberries and crust.
"I had one of those throwaway cameras," he said. "I want to get a real one now."
David Timchula aimed through a steel fence at a baseball diamond. He caught his brother at bat.
The 12 Scouts, whose den is associated with Gamber Volunteer Fire Company, each chose three pictures for the exhibit and wrote a personal statement about their selections.
"Each boy had at least 36 shots to choose from," Ms. White said. "In some cases, I would have printed different pictures, but they were adamant about their choices."
Last week, the Scouts helped Hilary Hatfield, arts council executive director, hang the exhibit. Only a few boys had visited a gallery before.
"A lot happens before you get to an exhibit," Ms. Hatfield said. "Think about how all the pieces must fit together. Help me plan so the work will flow."
While Jay shot pictures of the exhibit-in-progress, someone asked for a tape measure.
"Ms. White is always prepared," said Danny Flanagan, using the Boy Scout motto. "You can't go anyplace without her having all the stuff you need."
Danny decided the pictures should hang "so adults don't have to bend over and kids don't have to stand on tippy toe."
For this show, Ms. Hatfield did not have to compile a price list for potential buyers.
"We took a vote," Ms. White said. "No one wanted to sell."
"Boys View," 36 photographs by the young photographers, will be on display through April 29 at the council gallery, 15 E. Main St., Westminster.