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Graduate students display photography

BY HANNA ROSMAN | NOVEMBER 05, 2009 7:20 AM

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In photography, inspiration can come from the most unlikely subjects — an old house, natural landmarks, or state fairs.

Work by graduate students in photography will be showcased to the public Nov. 8-13, in the Drewelowe Gallery at the Studio Arts Building, 1375 Highway 1 W. Rather than an overall theme binding each student together, each display has its own concept.

“We all work differently. It would be a bad idea to do a certain theme,” said UI graduate student Chris Mortenson, the curator of the exhibition.

In addition to organizing the event, he will display his work, which is based on vacation postcards of natural landmarks. People use images as markers from vacations, he said. Each photo contains iconic locations cut and blended together to create a new natural structure. Through his work, viewers can see two places as one location that exists only in art.

Along with Mortensen, Jill Kambs, a UI graduate student teaching assistant, will exhibit a series of work titled 820 Fairchild for the show. This series includes scanned photos of objects collected over many years and numerous generations at the titular address. Rather than just creating art with photos, she studied the photographed objects as well as their history in an effort to map out a genealogy of the house.

“My interest with these objects is more anthropological than aesthetic,” Kambs said.

Angela Regas, a UI graduate student teaching assistant, will showcase work from a series of images from state and local fairs. The photos consist of 10 to 15 portraits of people one finds wandering around a fair, she said.

A focal point of the series is the people’s emotions. One Regas tends to pinpoint is the weariness found at fairs. She is interested in people who stop to sit and rest rather than the typical joyful photos filled with bubblegum-pink cotton candy.

“People are surrounded by things to make them happy, and I am fascinated by them,” Regas said.

She did not grow up in communities that held fairs, and she thought novelty foods such as deep-fried Snickers bars were a joke. She finds fairs such as the Iowa State Fair to be bizarre in an appealing kind of way.

From her perspective, it is easy to relate to those who stop and rest because of the disconnect she feels by being behind the camera. Although she feels distanced from her subjects, her work can find her a place among fellow photographers at the Drewelowe exhibit.


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