The photographs displayed in Within This Place at the Horn Gallery are true to their title in that they each demonstrate the importance of place in one’s life—in terms of both location and experience. The exhibition displayed the works of senior photographers Eryn Powell, Cameron Peters, Natalie Berger and Emma Raible. The photographers took many of the selected photos while studying abroad last year.
Each collection is unique in style. However, together, they tell a cohesive story about the importance and challenge of adapting to one’s environment. While the title implies that many of the images would focus on location and landscape, each photographer took the idea of ‘place’ in a different direction. Peters created a series of photos centered around tea leaves that form distinct images, accompanied with various captions explaining the meaning of each image. Each teacup is accompanied by an item that serves to justify the tea leaves’ prediction. The work deals with the idea of a looming future, but also offers the possibility for adaptation.
“Because everyone’s photographs were so different, there was a lot of liberty,” Berger said. Her photographs focused on portraits from her time abroad in Exeter, England. They consisted mostly of candid photos from daily life, which gave each image an intimate feel. Despite the contrasting subjects of each photographer, the idea of uninhibited human behavior is apparent in each piece.
“[Photography] has a certain familiar quality. It isn’t a complete abstraction of reality, but it frames moments that people don’t see,” Raible said. Many of her photos shared the concept of incorporating a window within a larger space to direct the viewer into a specific perspective. Raible’s set of photos give the onlooker a peek into another reality. Her work allows the viewer to see through another perspective as if they were a fly on the wall; to witness a moment without taking part in it.
Capturing these pieces aided the adjustment to a new place for each photographer, as their art allowed them to develop a greater sense of their surroundings. “I use photography to interact with new spaces … It helps me adapt to a new space and process where I am,” said Berger.
This idea of adaptation is also apparent in Powell’s set of images. Powell presented an artist’s statement alongside her photographs, which described how “each moment I had the opportunity to photograph became a practice of deep listening and conversation.” Indeed, her bold and striking photographs from her time in Europe demonstrate the process of understanding a new setting to the point where that setting evolves from an unfamiliar environment into a home. The processing of each new space is apparent in each richly colored shot, and the photographs invite the viewer to take part in these spaces alongside the photographer.
The pieces from Within This Place will be displayed in the lower Horn Gallery through Sept. 25.
Powell and Peters are members of the Collegian staff.