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Saint Mary’s photography students share work with community

| Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Professor Douglas Tyler gave his “Introduction to Digital Photography” students a simple instruction: Construct a diary illustrating daily life through a camera lens. The result was “Digital Diaries,” an exhibit on display since mid-February in the Saint Mary’s Cushwa-Leighton Library that explores the mundanities of everyday life through a digital photography series. Tyler said his students are working with diaries in part because his course integrates women’s voices, and women have a strong voice in that area of literature. 

Ann Curtis | The Observer

Student photography is displayed in the Cushwa-Leighton Library as part of the “Digital Diaries” series. The work of students taking Introduction to Digital Photography has been on display since mid–February.

The assignment also allows students to equate actions in the area of literature with actions in the arena of the visual arts — both seek to express themselves through images,” Tyler said in an email. “The final project for the students is presented on their personal website and is intended to broaden the students’ appreciation for the multiplicity of presentation modes available to contemporary photographers.”

This exhibition allows digital photography students to share their thoughts and expressions with others, hopefully enriching the lives of viewers and exposing the fundamental truths that lie within the images, Tyler said.

“Art is of little value in a closet,” Tyler said. “Putting one’s ideas … on public display involves risk. What will others say or think about my work? The mere act of exhibiting [the students’] work is intended to build confidence in the inherent significance of their images.”

Fourteen students contributed to this series, submitting photography selected from their individual diary collections. Junior Haley Crnarich said she snapped a photo of a an icy branch that caught her eye while walking to Holy Cross Hall. She said her submission, “Icy,” encourages viewers to be more aware of their surroundings, as there is so much beauty to be seen and highlighted through art. 

“My photo captures the importance of taking time out of our busy days to simply focus on what is around us. Most of the time — even when walking to class — we are so occupied with what is on our phones that we miss the simple beauty that we pass up on our everyday routes,” Crnarich said in an email. “I invite us to live in the moment and celebrate the nature surrounding us.”

Crnarich said she was especially proud of the fact that her photo was displayed because she loves showcasing her work on campus, allowing others to see the work and time invested in creating the exhibit.

“It feels great to pass by my photo and think, ‘Hey, my hard work pays off.’” Crnarich said.

Sophomore Megan Gallegos said her photo, “La Panaderia,” was taken while she shared her heritage with her roommate. This engaging moment between friends captures Gallegos’ overall theme of finding beauty in simplicity, she said.

“The everyday adventures should be celebrated,” Gallegos said in an email. “You may not appreciate them now, but later on when you think of everything you have been able to see and do, those small things mean the world.”

Gallegos said that putting her mixed background — something she normally considers private — on display was nerve–wracking, but she was excited to share part of herself with the Saint Mary’s community.

“The worst critic you can ever have is yourself because you can spend two hours completely destroying something that others see as beautiful and wonderful. … To hear that positive feedback makes you feel like you can do anything,” Gallegos said.

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