Exit Gallery Photos
Every Thursday weeknight, at 8:30 p.m., the Photo Society club meets at the Marian Center for Photographic Arts. Club President Hawie Veniegas calls for introductions and urges everyone to eat as much pizza as possible. On Sept. 15, the Photo Society members held a critique session to choose and prepare their photographs for their exit gallery. The exit gallery is featured in the Marian Center’s exiting hallway, and is located between two studios.
Usually the Photo Society is busy doing community work, as giving back is very important to its members. Last year the group visited a nursing home, which members hope to do again this year. They are also active participants in Outdoor Vision Fest (OVF). They have also been known to accommodate Mouton Hall if administration ever needs photographs for upcoming events—such as a photo booth for Parents’ Weeks in October. However, with the upcoming deadline to get the exit gallery hung by next week, the club focuses its attention on critiquing each other’s photographs so selections for the gallery can be made.
“It’s a way of encasing work that is close to our hearts and other people’s heart,” Veniegas says. “It’s also a nice way of leaving the Marian Center because it allows people to see the photos and realize there’s humanity everywhere.”
The theme for this year’s exit gallery is “What represents you as a photographer.” At the meeting, club members are asked to pick one photograph that they feel defines the types of photos they prefer to take or work with so their work can be critiqued.
The atmosphere, even during the critiquing sessions, is relaxed and members take the constructive criticism graciously. One by one, veteran club members put their carefully selected photos up on the screen to be reviewed. Jennifer Rapinchuk, a senior in the photography department, displays her self-portrait on both digital and printed mediums. In the picture, Rapinchuk appears to be stretching, eyes closed, one arm bending over her head as she leans to the side.
“This picture defines me as a photographer because I’ve always really liked taking portraits of people,” she says. “What better way to define my style than with a portrait of myself?”
The newer members are bashful, most of them sitting quietly in their seats while the upperclassmen politely tear into each other’s work. But Veniegas pushes everyone to participate, and is excited to see their photos.
“It’s always awesome to see new students identify themselves as photographers this early, because a lot of photographers in my year and the year before us didn’t know what kind of photographer they wanted to be until their senior year,” he says.
One of the club’s goals is to teach new students how to critique work so they’ll be more open to receiving constructive criticism in their classes. Students from others majors who are interested in photography are also allowed to join the club and are encouraged to show their photographs to receive critiques.
The Photo Society’s next big project will be a collaborative fundraiser with SFUAD’s rap and hip-hop band Space Mob. Anyone interested should attend the regular Thursday night meeting for more information.