Café Ruche may be one of Wilton’s newest businesses, but it’s already getting into the groove of giving back to the community. Owner Barbara Chopin was eager to feature the photography of 36 students in the Wilton High School Advanced Photography class in the restaurant and yoga studio. The works are being exhibited through June 11.

“It adds a dimension of aesthetic beauty to the lounge,” Chopin says, adding, “It’s a way to showcase local talent, particularly non-professional talent of the students who are in the high school.”

The WHS photo students are excited to share their work with the public and they’ve pledged that any proceeds from the sale of the artwork on display will be donated to Operation Smile, a nonprofit medical service which provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children worldwide.

Carolyn Vaum, one of the WHS photography students is also a member of the school’s Operation Smile club, and helped organize the show.

“Because of these deformities, these poor children cannot eat, breathe, or socialize normally. Because of the cleft palate, children can not live a normal life. Our club helps fund the surgeries to change the lives of these kids and finally help them smile,” Vaum says.

They looked at the photo show as an opportunity to raise both money and attention for the cause. “Spreading awareness about this organization and giving any help we can, will benefit so many families in unprivileged countries.”

The students edited their still life, sports, animal and travel photography using Photoshop and Lightroom. Some of the editing techniques on display include altered saturation, mirror image, hand coloring, tilt shift, radial blur, as well as Infrared photography. The photographs were taken using a digital SLR camera which was converted to photograph the Infrared region of the light spectrum. Infrared photography offers the opportunity to explore “the world of the unseen” because the naked eye cannot see the Infrared light, which lies just beyond what is classified as the “visible” spectrum of light. The colors of Infrared are determined by the reflection and absorption of light as well as the differences in temperature between an object and its environment. The most dramatic results are shown in outdoor scenes, where green foliage and the surrounding background take on a dream-like, surreal quality.

Chopin says featuring art is something she looks forward to continue doing at Café Ruche. “I like the idea of having it be able to change, so we are doing photographs now but in the fall we might do paintings or we might have some other media. There is always a place for the local high school students to showcase their art.”

For more information about Operation Smile’s mission visit their website. Café Ruche is located at 101 Old Ridgefield Rd., near Marly’s, and is open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m..