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SMC club features alumnae photography

Emilie Kefalas | Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Saint Mary’s Camera Club refocused their newly revamped lenses and collaborated with the Saint Mary’s Art Department to sponsor an alumnae artwork exhibit titled “The Camera and the Eye” in the Cushwa-Leighton Library through Nov. 2.  

Senior art major Emily Engler said former Belles’ creations through darkroom photography will be showcased in the library lobby, and the exhibit will feature varied pieces from previous darkroom classes.

“These black and white photographs are diverse in content and offer a unique blend of expressive options to contemporary artists,” Engler said.

With help from student assistants Engler, Sasha Davis and Rebecca Walker, Professor Douglas Tyler and Camera Club president Erin McClintic arranged and organized the exhibition for display in the library rather than the Moreau Center for the purpose of reaching a wider student audience, Tyler said.  

“Exhibiting these photos in the library would allow more exposure for the current student body to view the work and there are students from other disciplines who are able to view the photos in the library who might not have classes in Moreau,” he said.

Engler said all images on display are taken from previous years’ assignments.

“We wanted to exhibit alumnae artwork to emphasize the importance of the Saint Mary’s community and our appreciation for our past students’ work. There is no specific theme besides all photos having been developed through darkroom processes and that they were done by alumnae,” Engler said.  

Tyler said he wanted his current students to relate to alumnae through the exhibit.    

“One of the primary reasons [for this exhibit] was an interest in connecting our students to the work of past students – to allow them to see and share in their photographic experiences. We are working on point of view right now in the Photo I course and this was a central interest to relate how others had approached this issue in their own work,” Tyler said.

The set of works in the exhibit showcases the different perspectives of student artists, Tyler said.

“In these artists’ work our primary interest was the individuality of their vision; we did not select certain alums for any other reason. Rather we wanted the artworks to speak for themselves,” he said. “We wanted the visitors to the exhibition to experience the creative intensity of their predecessors in the hopes that it would inspire their current work and their creative development in photography or any area in which they are currently studying.”  

Because of this year’s return of the Camera Club, the exhibit will serve to inspire and hopefully attract potential members, Engler said

“Since there are new students on campus, it may give a new student the desire to explore the darkroom art and the beauty that comes with it,” Engler said.

Engler said she was inspired by the exhibit’s focus on darkroom photography as a lost art as well as the significance of learning from alumnae creations in that discipline.  

“As a current art student, I find it important to view other artists’ work and think about what their work is trying to show the viewer,” she said. “What better art to look at then the art of previous Saint Mary’s students?”

The personal relationship an artist has with her work resonates with all Saint Mary’s art students, as they are encouraged to explore their creativity outside of their comfort zone, Engler said.   

“Since [darkroom photography] is an art that has been lost, I think it’s important to feel the intimacy when developing your own photos in the darkroom,” Engler said. “It’s completely different than digital photography and allows an artist to explore what they can do to push a photo farther both aesthetically and conceptually.”