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April 09, 2010
Vol. 51 No. 19

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Students 'advance' artwork

Charlie's Coffeehouse and Susquehanna's Department of Art hosted an Advanced Photography Showcase last night at 8 p.m., featuring artwork from 15 students from eight different academic departments.

The showcase was held in Charlie's Coffeehouse and was the first photography-only showcase since before 2006. It was "a sampling of images made by the students in Advanced Photography," according to Professor Gordon Harkins.

"They have been building a cohesive body of work this semester, and feedback has been limited, for the most part, to other students in the class. This provides them with a larger audience and a wide range of interpretations and impressions," Harkins said.

Harkins added that participation was a requirement for the class.

The students who had work featured in the showcase were seniors Heather Arney, John Hesseltine, Olivia Humphreys, Hilary Hutter, Mike Jones, Katie Mongell and Nate Roseth; juniors Billy James, Colleen Kelly, Andy Kolkhorst, Steve Scales, Kathy Sheehan and Kelly Stemcosky; and sophomores Jennifer Butts and Jen Peters.

"In deciding what work to put up, the students were allowed to select what they felt was their strongest work to this point. I tried to be there to guide them toward the stronger images. They selected images that had meaning to them--at times passing up the more graphically pleasing image for another that had some personal depth," Harkins said. "I don't think anyone took it lightly," he added.

Humphreys, a photography minor, had two photos featured in the show. She said she would love to pursue photography after graduating from Susquehanna. "I'm hopeful. That would be a dream job," she said.

Butts had four photos featured, sharing a common theme of dream interpretation. Butts said she has always enjoyed art.

"It's just something I love. I like making art. With digital photography, it's like a different painting every time you take a picture. I can manipulate [the photos] in Photoshop to get what I see in my head," she said.

"I love the whole concept. Her work is all through the house. She has always had an interest in it, and [her work] is always good," said Charlie Butts, her father.

Butts' mother said: "We've definitely seen so much growth since she's been [at Susquehanna]. The development and growth has been amazing. We are so impressed with the school."

Harkins said that going through a process such as this one is important for students.

"A photographer's vision doesn't evolve and mature through shooting alone. The other half of the process is evaluating the work and going back to shoot more. Getting feedback from others who are not personally invested in the photos helps a great deal--it can hurt your ego sometimes, but that's part of the process as well," he added.

According to Harkins, Advanced Photography is "only their second photo class."

"I think you are seeing fairly mature work from several students, even though they are essentially at an intermediate level. They have worked hard this semester, and they have taken their photography seriously," Harkins said.

This rings especially true for Mongell, who said that although she just became interested in photography last semester, she intends to pursue it after graduation.

Five of her photos were featured in the showcase, with fashion as their common theme. Mongell added that she hopes to use her work to build a portfolio in order to secure a job in fashion photography.

"I feel like I've learned to work with different people and a digital camera in general. Everything is really new to me. Gordon has been awesome in helping all of us," she said.

Harkins said: "Ask them about their work--what they are going after, why they photographed something a certain way, what the next step is in their project. That kind of interaction helps the student understand the work better, but it also helps to make the viewer's experience more meaningful."


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