GVSU photography students collaborate on photo exhibition

Kate Branum

The photography program, sponsored by the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University, will present a collaborative exhibition showcasing the work of five photography students, including: Lindsay Bruce, Danae Chudy, Jordan Clark, Autumn Hand and Chantal Shuling.

As Titled will open to the public Tuesday, April 18, in the GVSU Art Gallery in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. Students are encouraged to join the artists for a reception Thursday, April 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the gallery space.

Each student photographer displays a unique body of work intended to highlight their individualities and differences in camera work. The students gathered during the first day of class to brainstorm ideas for the exhibition. Ultimately, they decided on a simple concept intended to support the diversity of their individual projects. The name As Titled is meant to spark a curiosity in viewers, urging them to keep an open mind.

Shuling chose to create a seven-minute film called “Breathe” which focuses on the effects of anxiety and panic attacks. She drew inspiration from her own struggle with prolonged anxiety and a recent panic attack she experienced. Through her piece, she hopes to help correct the negative stigma attached to anxiety.

“I decided to create a short film rather than photographs due to my increased passion for film and storytelling, and because a lot of technical aspects of filmmaking directly relate to photography,” Shuling said. “With my personal project, I would like (audience members) to become more aware of anxiety and the stigma around it (and) create (a) new understanding.”

Clark considers himself to be an environmentalist first and a photographer second. Through his pieces, collectively named Approaching Landscapes, he aims to bring awareness to the environmental challenges the world currently faces.

“I want viewers of my work to understand that the environment needs our help, and that humans are the problem, though also the solution,” Clark said. “If we are all more conscious about our impact on the environment, then we can all do something about it.”

Bruce’s collection, called Nothing In Between, was inspired by the concept of living. Her black and white photos serve as small physical representations of “stopping to smell the roses,” which is something she feels is often underrepresented in this age of image-saturated media. She calls these little moments “nothings.”

“I’d like people to walk away with a bit of a sense of validation,” Bruce said. “I’d like them to start thinking of their own ‘nothings’ as something worthy of being presented in a gallery.”

Hand focused on personal experiences when creating her collection called Ruins. After unexpectedly enduring a crushing life experience, she began incorporating flowers in her work because they are thought to bring happiness during hard times. Her photos portray the different stages of flowers, from first bloom to decay.

“I would like (viewers) to be able to look at my images and experience the emotions that the flowers and smoke provoke,” Hand said. “The series is supposed to allow (viewers) to (explore) their own thoughts without being told what they are supposed to feel.”

As Titled will be on display until Saturday, April 29, with a final in-depth viewing session from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.