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Several days in the life...
June 5, 2012 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Photographer Tolu Omokehinde, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in suburban Silver Spring, Maryland, shot 175,000 photographs over a 7-month period and edited them together into a time-lapse video of the daily rhythms at Blair.

Blair is home to nearly 2,800 students and hosts the math/science/computer science magnet program for Montgomery County, which borders on Washington DC. Omokehinde's video highlights Blair's ethnic diversity: a minority-majority school (25.9% African American, 24.0% Caucasian, 29.2% Hispanic and 16.8% Asian) with a large immigrant population, the countries of origin found among Blair students are reflected in the national flags flow in the central hallway.

(Notable Blair alumni include Goldie Hawn, Connie Chung, Matt Drudge, and Ben Stein)
posted by drlith (27 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
That sure is one of the nicest looking public high schools I've ever seen. Especially looking at it, as I am, from neighboring Prince George's County.
posted by Nomiconic at 6:15 PM on June 5, 2012


That was great. Very beautiful. I almost went over to Blair tonight to see the Transit of Venus, but since it was cloudy I did not bother.
posted by OmieWise at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2012


Nice film. It is a school campus with a serious case of gigantism—when you're passing it on the Beltway, you can't help but notice how long it takes to actually pass it by. Fortunately, the current campus is untainted by either Stein or Drudge (corner me sometime in person and buy me a Shirley Temple with extra cherries for some first-person tales of those two), who went to the more classical old campus on Wayne Avenue, where the single most demanding speed cameras in all of Maryland will catch you if you go 25.1 miles an hour.

Also, many of us locals don't call that area Four Corners—preferring the nomenclature imposed by the grand neon sign for WOODMOOR Shopping Center, which spent the seventies selectively burning out to reveal names like "OO OO," "WOO MOO," "OOD OR," "WOOD OR," and "WOO MOOR."

Me—I've stuck with "OO OO," because it neatly sums up the eagerness with which I greet the intersection that means oo oo, I'm almost home after the long slow drive out of DC.
posted by sonascope at 6:29 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


That sure is one of the nicest looking public high schools I've ever seen. Especially looking at it, as I am, from neighboring Prince George's County.

Blair alum here. Back when I was a student, it was in a different location, where it was the smallest building and campus with the largest student body. It took several years of badgering the school board for us to get the same funding levels as the up-county (read: richer and whiter) schools.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was wonderful and beautiful. Also, there was a young woman in a computer science lab (?) who was keyboarding, texting, knitting, keyboarding, texting, knitting and for some reason that just super amused me.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Early '90s alum here.

ZF, I remember the days of when teachers told us stories about how they obtained special permission to salvage pencil sharpeners off the wall of some school upcounty that was going to be demolished. I forget which one it was that they just built a whole new one, even though it was at the time still the newest high school in the county.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2012


MoCo in the hizzie.
posted by RedShrek at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


25 seconds of pre-roll self-credits? Seriously?

I am actually kind of concerned that this film is a federal crime under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It discloses information about minors without their consent or knowledge they were being subjected to surveillance inside a state facility.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nice looking stuff. I liked the music, too. I was only a teensy bit disappointed to realize all the moves were done in post. He must have been shooting full frame to give himself enough room to do those moves.
posted by bz at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2012


Good lord, compared to that campus, my high school looked like a crack house.
posted by davebush at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am actually kind of concerned that this film is a federal crime under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It discloses information about minors without their consent or knowledge they were being subjected to surveillance inside a state facility.

No reason to be concerned about FERPA. FERPA protects education "records," and photographs of people of this sort aren't education records under FERPA.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:36 PM on June 5, 2012


Which project is this, now?
posted by SPrintF at 7:48 PM on June 5, 2012


Fake, totally fake. I didn't see one person getting stuffed into a trash can or body-slammed into a locker.
posted by Forktine at 7:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not convinced this film does not contain personally identifiable information that could be considered educational records that are prohibited from disclosure. For example, I saw a scene where a girl holds up a textbook, which would allow me to determine what class she was taking. Even if not covered under FERPA, this film is on the borderline between journalism and a commercial promotion for the student producer, which would require model releases, particularly in the scenes inside classrooms and computer labs which are not public spaces like outdoor sidewalks and open lobbies.

In any case, I am concerned about student privacy and FERPA, having just today signed papers acknowledging privacy of student records under FERPA, for reasons I cannot disclose under FERPA.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:26 PM on June 5, 2012


To charlie don't surf: if that is how you truly feel, I encourage you to take your concerns to the proper authorities.

To everyone else: holy crap that is a sweet high school. I went to the same small lame private school K-12 in a small lame city in a lame state and had almost no exposure to any other non-college school campuses...Blair is blowing my mind. I assume it's a fancy, fancy outlier--how common are public schools as swank as this one?
posted by phunniemee at 8:39 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


BLAIR DROOLZ, CHURCHILL ROOLZ
posted by escabeche at 9:33 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My first thought was "hey, that's a nice looking high school." And then I thought: Fuck me, high schools should default to being nice--nice looking, nice atmosphere, nice staff, nice food, nice everything. Good for them. I hope the kids who go there enjoy their time as much as they can.

As for long start credits, it's a high school student, fer chrissake. I noticed the same thing but was amused. "This needed to be three seconds long, but it was too cool, too much work, to cut, wasn't it? Heh, I've done the same thing."

And take it from me, kiddos: More sex. Be kind, be consensual, be careful, but jeebus, get it on. /middle-aged regrets
posted by maxwelton at 9:49 PM on June 5, 2012


Charlie:

Under FERPA, "education records" are defined as follows:

Education records. (a) The term means those records that are:

(1) Directly related to a student; and

(2) Maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

Do you think that photographs taken by a student meet this definition? I do not, because I don't think his personal photographs are "maintained by an educational agency."

But suppose he did this for a class, and somehow this could be considered an educational record. I have gleaned from my (admittedly cursory) examination of FERPA that it concerns the disclosure by an educational agency or institution. So the rules about disclosure don't appear to apply to him.

I would tend to disagree with your assertion that the film is "borderline between journalism and a commercial promotion." Admittedly, I'm not familiar with the laws of Maryland on this regard because all of my photo and video work has been done in New York (for now). But generally, a work itself isn't commercial if it's not being used to promote the sale of a product or service.

Finally, I share your concern about student privacy, but I don't think any student who attends a school that does not expressly prohibit the use of cameras or other recording devices by the students themselves has a reasonable expectation of not being photographed or recorded by other students. In most (all?) states in the USA, in situations when you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, you can't expect privacy.

Now, if you or I went in there and started taking surreptitious pictures of students, I think we'd both agree that would be another story entirely.
posted by bugmuncher at 10:00 PM on June 5, 2012


Wow, that's a pretty goth looking chick at 3 minutes

---
I am actually kind of concerned that this film is a federal crime under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
THIS VIDEO CLEARLY LEAKS ATTENDANCE INFORMATION. IF THEY'RE IN THE VIDEO, THEY WERE CLEARLY AT SCHOOL THAT DAY... WHICH WE DON'T KNOW THE DATE OF. BUT STILL.
without their consent or knowledge they were being subjected to surveillance inside a state facility.
Yeah, I'm sure the motion tracking rig would have been really easy to miss.
I'm not convinced this film does not contain personally identifiable information that could be considered educational records that are prohibited from disclosure. For example, I saw a scene where a girl holds up a textbook
OMG you guys. I just realized the sketches I did in highschool art class might violate FERPA if I ever put them online. I was drawing other students. Clearly my sketches would indicate they were in school that day and that they were in the same class as me! I think I might even have scanned them once. I should burn them and smash all my hard drives, since it might be a FEDERAL CRIME.

Oh and the yearbook! All those 'candid' photos of kids... in classrooms clearly indicating what classes they were taking!!!!
Do you think that photographs taken by a student meet this definition? I do not, because I don't think his personal photographs are "maintained by an educational agency."
Also, I think FERPA only applies to the educational institution itself, right? It's not a against the law for students to post photographs that they took in school on Facebook. I also don't think FERPA is a criminal statute either. I would guess that violating it could open you up to a lawsuit by the student(?)
posted by delmoi at 11:01 PM on June 5, 2012


Pretty video. I wish I would have gone to a school where the entire day consists of walking around hallways, socializing and sitting in computer labs. Or is there something more to Blair High that I missed?

FERPA, what? This is like yearbook material. IIRC, yearbooks aren't illegal.
posted by JJ86 at 4:14 AM on June 6, 2012


This is cool. I do time lapse myself. And Silver Spring is the last place I lived before moving to Europe. And then, I can see my old apartment building in the video.
posted by Goofyy at 4:23 AM on June 6, 2012


I wish I would have gone to a school where the entire day consists of walking around hallways, socializing and sitting in computer labs. Or is there something more to Blair High that I missed?

The editing?
posted by inigo2 at 4:34 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hooray for MoCo! (I went to Blake, class of 2002, oh yeah.)
posted by sperose at 5:09 AM on June 6, 2012


holy crap that is a sweet high school. I went to the same small lame private school K-12 in a small lame city in a lame state and had almost no exposure to any other non-college school campuses...Blair is blowing my mind. I assume it's a fancy, fancy outlier--how common are public schools as swank as this one?

Montgomery County is one of the richest in the country, so it's not really an outlier for the county. However, as I mentioned above, the student body is not really reflective of the wealth of the county, but rather the (original) local district. When I graduated, the school was vastly overcrowded to the point that we had so many portable classrooms that there was no football field, falling apart, and often the subject of rumors about gang fights and drivebys that had never happened. It took at least 3 years of hard fighting against very nasty opposition from both the school board members representing the posh parts of the county and from "concerned citizens" who didn't like certain people in their neighborhood to get the Kay Tract, and it's already becoming overcrowded again.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 AM on June 6, 2012


To charlie don't surf: if that is how you truly feel, I encourage you to take your concerns to the proper authorities.

This.

There is literally nothing to be done in this thread about this concern. Either go to a proper authority and take it up there, or drop it.
posted by odinsdream at 8:32 AM on June 6, 2012


A project like this would never have survived at my high school. The administration would have found some asinine way to crush it.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 1:38 PM on June 6, 2012


totally stole the accompanying music from The Arctic Light, which I'm not too happy about given the fact that Marika Takeuchi composed that song specifically for that video.
posted by Greener_pastures at 10:05 PM on June 10, 2012


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