Nude athletes, fabricated planets, and a new world record make the “3X” senior photography show an engaging, thought-provoking exhibit well worth seeing. The Margaret Gehman art gallery was packed on Saturday for the most crowded opening in recent years.
Shandell Taylor’s photography series, entitled “Bod by God,” was inspired by the body issue of Sports Illustrated. Taylor photographed four tattooed athletes in the nude with their sports equipment. The images tastefully and respectfully show their self-confidence in physical fitness.
“I’ve always been committed to sports, first as an athlete, and now as a photographer,” Taylor explained. She and the models came up with poses that both exhibited their muscular prowess and challenged stereotypical gender portrayal.
The women are strong and fearless, looking the viewer in the eyes without being seductive. The men are, at times, soft and gentle. One piece shows a man cradling a football in his arm, gazing down on it lovingly.
“My personal favorite isn’t on display,” Taylor stated, as the audience erupted in laughter. Given the opportunity, she would photograph Kobe Bryant over any athlete.
Taylor’s collection is extraordinary in terms of photographic skill and societal critique and was my favorite of the three.
Joaquin Sosa displayed photographs taken along the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, digitally manipulated into spherical “planet” panoramas. Titled “The Calm Before the Storm,” they were taken the weekend before Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City. Some images are accurate representations of a 360-degree view, whereas others are aesthetically altered.
“I feel like it’s more impactful than even being in these spots,” said Sosa.
His goal was to capture the awe he felt being in the city. Originally, he climbed atop water towers to shoot, but realized that these panoramas didn’t have the same potential as those taken from the ground. Each image is composed of eight to twelve frames.
Sosa’s mastery of HDR photography and aesthetic sense create manipulated photographs that are hard to walk away from.
Cody Troyer experimented with light painting over long exposures. By swinging different colored light bulbs on extension cords while keeping the shutter open, he created glowing balls of light in ordinary settings. His inspiration, a photographer in New Zealand, previously held the record of creating six balls of light in one exposure. One of Troyer’s images has nine.
“It was almost like directing a film,” Troyer said of the process. Each image represents a fifteen to thirty minute exposure. Troyer was assisted by EMU Alum Stuart Landis (‘10), who switched the lights on and off.
“It takes a lot longer than it looks!” commented Landis. Each shot took four or fives tries to perfect.
The variety of different subjects and processes does not make the gallery feel disjointed, but rather presents stimulating works that are enhanced by their contrast to one another.
Taylor, Sosa, and Troyer are all double majors and will each have another show in the spring.
-Randi Hago, Co-Editor in Chief