Walking into the basement of Loyola Hall, I often forget that, right near the the Department of Public Safety office, there are art studios for exhibits and classes. The last time I had been to the Lukacs Gallery was for the “Introduction to 2D Design” exhibit back in October, so I was eager to see what was inside on this trip. What I found was largely different from what had been shown previously, and to me, it was a much more interesting visage.
Digital Photography (SA 134) presented Loyola’s new exhibit, “Form/Idea/Exploration.” As opposed to abstract shapes, it uses what it says in the class name: photos. Photos of people and objects line the walls. I found myself surprised that were no tables to place more photos on, though I have no qualms against the decision. Plenty of space meant people could put more focus on each piece of art instead of rushing to look everywhere at once. The photos themselves varied in subject, from people performing actions like painting nails and taking photos to objects we can encounter in our daily routines, like a calculator.
From what can be seen from these photos as well as the exhibit’s name, it can be guessed that the exhibit’s photos focus on what the subjects can present them as. One example would be the photo of a calculator. Had it been a photo of a calculator as if it were for sale, then we would skip over it unless we needed it. A regular photo would be shot in a bright environment to show us what the object is in general. In this exhibit, the calculator has the middle portion of buttons on its body focused on as it is viewed from the side and sunlight shines on it from the background. It’s through the presentation of the calculator that the photo is made appealing and the idea can be explored. It’s almost as if we were scrolling through pictures on Instagram or Twitter; only noticing the ones that appeal to our eyes instead of the more plain looking ones. Then again, there could be more than meets the eye in even these photos.
We each look at and understand a photo on display in different ways, just like the calculator. The form of the photo is where the exploration behind it comes into play. While the image is in front of our faces, we can’t help but wonder about its context. Obvious thoughts head towards “What effects did they use?” or “Who took this photo?”, but these thoughts shift into the more provoking questions like “What does this photo mean?” and “Does anything remind me of this photo?”, which make us think about aspects of our lives that we take for granted rather than its appearance. If this is the right idea that the photographers were going for, then I applaud their skills and efforts in creating such feelings.
The exhibit will be open from Jan. 22 to Feb. 8.