Photography seniors showcase semesters of work in Tesselation

GVL / Robert Mathews
April Galbrath hanging her senior thesis in the PAC Gallery for the Tessalation Photo Show.

GVL / Robert Mathews April Galbrath hanging her senior thesis in the PAC Gallery for the Tessalation Photo Show.

Shelby Pendowski

With the press of a button, a camera captures a single moment. Though it is the mechanics behind it that make the documentation of the moment possible, it is the photographer who decides what moments are worth capturing.

Fifteen Grand Valley State University senior photography majors decided just that as they created a theme and captured photographs to showcase at their thesis exhibition, titled Tessellation.

The exhibition runs Nov. 29 through Dec. 7 and includes works by Jillian Bowes, Elizabeth Brown, April Galbreath, Rachel Iturralde, Kaitlin Kaurich, Corinne Keener, Alissa Krumlauf, Kimberly Miller, Amber Olsen, Maggie Overbeek, Connie Pulliam, Jasmine Smith, Christina Sorto, Jesse Weinkauf and Gina Zylstra.

“I think I can speak for the rest of us, this is like a culmination of the past two and three years,” Weinkauf said. “Everything we’ve done goes into this thesis and project; it is rewarding.”

Victoria Veenstra, photography professor, acted as a mentor and adviser for the students. Veenstra said many of the students began their projects in previous semesters because of the dedication needed to create it.

“Oftentime they do a pre-thesis independent study because it is a large project and it is big endeavor,” Veenstra said. “They want to start the semester of strong.”

She said the exhibit highlights a whole host of themes and topics. From architecture and landscape to people, in black and white and in color, students chose what they wanted to capture and how they wanted to capture it, she said.

Gina Zylstra came up with the idea for her photographs in a Jung and Shamanism class, where she learned about Mandalas and how they are sacred art circles.

“I take pictures a lot when I see something that is interesting and catches my eye,” Zylstra said. “I see myself as an observer in life anyway. When I have my camera and I see something that is beautiful in a different way, I like to capture that.”

Meditation played a big part in how Zylstra created her piece, by representing inner peace and awareness of nature.

“That’s how I came up with the initial idea of creating a circle out of nature and then the cyanotype process of using my hands again came into play,” Zylstra said.

Corinne Keener’s “Mary Agnes” was created to bring a conversation between images and literature.

“It is a work of photographs with words I have printed,” Keener said. “I am trying to display the cliché of words.”

Along with taking and choosing the photographs, the students had to learn how to set up and advertise an exhibition, as well as turning their work into a business.

Keener said they broke the class into teams, one that was in charge of observation and the press, and another that handled the exhibition and putting the reception together.

The students can’t believe that the exhibition is already opening.

“It is a really nice send off for us,” Keener said. “To finally be able to showcase that, and start a career like that. We spent the last few months in a seminar on how to put on this show. We learned not just the photograph, but what to do behind the scenes.”

The exhibition runs until Dec. 7 in the Art Gallery inside the Performing Arts Center. The gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

An opening reception to meet and talk with the photographers of Tessellation will be held Nov. 29 from 5-7 p.m. in the Art Gallery. Artists will provide light refreshments for the exhibition, which is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Veenstra at [email protected] or April Galbreath at [email protected].
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