News story from Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools

Student highlights teenage struggles in thought-provoking exhibition

Katrina Penn portrayed body image, relationships, addiction and mental health as part of her Extended Project Qualification award.

Katrina Penn has used her photographic skills to highlight teenage struggles in a one-day exhibition.
Katrina Penn has used her photographic skills to highlight teenage struggles in a one-day exhibition.

23rd November 2021 — A student at Monmouth School for Girls has used her photographic skills to highlight teenage struggles, in a thought-provoking exhibition.

Katrina Penn, in Year 13, portrayed body image, relationships, addiction, mental health as well as a party scene in which teenagers often face issues or anxiety.

Staff, students and parents came along to Katrina’s one-day exhibition at school and completed a questionnaire to help with her project.

“The exhibition was for my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) award it was challenging to highlight teenage problems through my photographs, particularly mental health because there is not a clear-cut definition.

“I gathered research from a variety of scientific and cultural sources, and then translated my findings through the medium of photography.

"I was drawn to this subject by statistical evidence on the number of teenagers of my generation who are deeply affected by issues. I used a variety of photographic techniques to try and capture these commonplace struggles for young people.”

For majority of the pictures, Katrina used a digital camera as well as her phone and then printed the images in a variety of sizes from an online website.

“I overlapped pictures as a comment on mental instability and I cropped images to remove the faces, emphasising the universality of the problems rather than focusing on the individual,” she said.

“I then explored the frequency and scale of these struggles through printing on different materials."

The project took up a lot of her time. However, Katrina is passionate about photography and enjoyed the challenges.

“All feedback from the exhibition was positive so that felt rewarding and showed that my time and effort into it had paid off,” she said.

“I also received a substantial number of questionnaires from people who came along to the exhibition, which will be beneficial for my post-event review.”

The EPQ is an A level standard standalone qualification in which students can lead their own projects, research and report findings.

Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools (Coed 7-18) is a day and boarding school in Wales.

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