Twenty Years of Student Photography
January 14 – March 1, 2019
An Introduction to Twenty Years of Student Photography
By H. Michael Sanders
This exhibition, literally twenty-plus years in the making, showcases student photography from Electronic Media Communications at UC Blue Ash College from the founding of our program in 1997 to the work of students still completing their degrees. Much of the work originated in photography courses required of all of our majors, traditionally focused on composition and technical aspects of the craft. This includes, of course, imagery manipulated and/or combined in Photoshop. Historically, these courses have included Photographic Principles & Lighting, Digital Photography, and Photography I. The latter is the currently required course, which is an amalgam of the two older courses.
The wide range of work seen in this show, however, is due to the fact that many students continue to pursue photography beyond the basic requirements, eventually completing Photography II and one or more of our many seminar courses offered over the years such as Studio Photography, Pinhole Photography, Diana Camerawork, Portraiture and the Human Form, Street Photography, Product Photography, and Tao of Photography.
Over 400 works by 228 student photographers comprise this exhibition, including individual images, printed excerpts from photographic book projects, and a selection of actual photographic books and seminar portfolios. In an effort to emphasize the imagery over relative age and printing technology, the presentation of the work has been standardized, with older film-based work scanned and presented in exactly the same manner as contemporary digital work. This approach has provided a cohesive and unified look to the exhibition and made it possible to integrate work from diverse photographic processes and a lengthy time period that witnessed the transition from exclusively film-based photography to the contemporary world of digital imaging.
An exhibition such as this can only be organized if the student work has been selected, retained, formatted, and archived. That we have done so consistently over the past twenty years is a testament to the many fine faculty I have had the pleasure of working with to teach photography at UC Blue Ash. Each quarter or semester during the past two decades, the photography faculty have made selections of the best student work from their courses and supplied that to me in a variety of formats. I have worked with professional staff and student interns to archive these images in standardized formats and prepare them for exhibition.
During the first decade, Peter J. Bender, our department’s technical/production manager, worked closely with me to archive and prepare student work for exhibition, and to him I express my deepest thanks for his extensive efforts. Former student and current intern, Rachel Kauffman, worked with me to curate and prepare the second decade of student work for exhibition. My sincere gratitude goes out to her for both her technical and aesthetic contributions to this collection of work. I must also acknowledge the eMedia Communications Photography Faculty from 1997-2018, without whom this archive would not have been generated nor selected: Helen Adams-Borders (2012-2018), Peter J. Bender (1998-2006), William Boyle (2012-2018), Terry Friesenborg (1997-1998), David Hartz (2003-2018), Laura Herman (2002), Sam Marshall (2002), Guennadi Maslov (2012-2018), H. Michael Sanders (1997-2018), and Jay Yocis (1997).
I also wish to thank my college and artistic collaborator, Rhonda Pettit, for the opportunities she has provided to showcase student photography in the college arts and literary journal, Blue Ash Review. She has provided a long-term and stable forum for artistic expression at the college. Some notable examples of student photography published includes: the eleven page feature on “The Tao of Photography” from Blue Ash Review Vol. 22 (2015), including a cover image by student Marcus Evans; the cover image by student Michael Munafo for BAR Vol. 24 (2017); and the current feature on “Student Book Productions,” showcasing excerpts of nine photo book projects by students, in the first edition of the new Blue Ash Review Online, No. 1 (2018), ably edited by our colleague Claudia Skutar.