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A group of Fairfield University students were framed this past semester.

But there was no crime scene, no murder, no police.

The conspirator was one senior whose ingenious plot was to photograph her friends in different locations each holding a large gold frame.

These photographs were on display Thursday night in the Creative Life Residential College, located at the old Jesuit residence now commonly referred to as “Bellarmine.” For the night, the Dining Commons was transformed into an art exhibit, allowing students to wander around the room viewing the art, listen to good music and enjoy some snacks.

The exhibit was described on a poster as “an ongoing experimental project based on experiencing beauty and finding one’s place in the world.”  It consisted of 25 photographs shot by senior Emily Robillard. The photographs were set in various locations such as Cape Cod, Rhode Island and New York City.  Despite the different environments, each photograph featured a person holding a frame that was also on display that night.

The project began as a fun way for Robillard to remember her summer before embarking on her senior year at Fairfield University.  As an Accounting and Marketing major, she has never taken a photography class before. The project was initially a great way for her to express her creative side and to travel and hang out with friends.

Upon returning to campus in the fall, more and more people wanted to be “framed.”  The project became less about taking pictures but “more about experiencing the space and enjoying the journey,” Robillard said.

She decided to take pictures of her friends in places that had meaning for them, a place where they could say, “This is my space.”  She said that she wanted them to “feel comfortable and be themselves.”

When asked about the meaning behind the picture frame, she said that she wanted a common thread to link all of the photographs together.  The frame has a “middle negative space” that allows the viewer to see everything within the frame, she said.  She found it interesting to see how each person used the frame differently to allow their personality to come through – some framed their face while others framed the sun or a lighthouse in the background.

Her most memorable photograph is of a complete stranger. On a train headed into New York City, a woman sitting next to her asked her why she was holding a large frame. Robillard explained the idea behind her project and then the women asked to be a part of it. She said it was memorable to her because it was “so random and unexpected.”

Tom Saporito ’12, a RA in the Creative Life Residential College, was one of the “framed” students.  He is photographed next to a statue of a man made out of rocks that he loves to pass when he goes for a run.

Saporito scheduled the event as a program for the Creative Life Residential College because he thought “it was a good way to bring people together over something pleasant.”

All in attendance congratulated Robillard on her work. Justin Blum ’13, a member of Creative Life provided the live music for the night.  He said “it was a great time and the turn out was much higher than expected.”

“We had a good time jamming,” he said. “Hopefully everyone else had a good time listening!”

Robillard plans to continue the project though the spring semester.  There is already a sign-up sheet for new participants, but she said “I hope to one day get framed myself!”

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