Quality Vibe hosted a student photography show at Center Stage that featured the works of nine students that varied significantly in subject matter. The show on Nov. 26 displayed gorgeous landscapes and works that were provocative and thought-provoking, and documented people met during an artist’s travels.
A significant standout was the work of Angelique Strachan, whose submission to Touchstones created substantial controversy and resulted in threats of resignation from the staff over the initial decision to use one of her images for the cover.
The artist’s statement that accompanied Strachan’s works said, “We are often forced to compress our complex humanness into flat, gendered narratives. Though in reality womanhood is not one image or one set process or outcome, but is an ever changing notion of self we are continually redefining, reclaiming, reconciling, and actualizing.”
The series featured images of bare women juxtaposed with images of the natural world. The effect was a striking condemnation of the often unnatural roles and stereotypes given to women in the modern world that they are expected to conform and fit in to.
Another artist, Wyatt Peterson’s (@wyattpetersonstudios), use of wooden, rustic feeling frames on landscape photos was done to great effect. The rugged frames and beautifully captured nature scenes made the viewer long to get away from their urban cage and escape into the wilderness, even if, as in the most striking photo of the set, that wilderness is on fire.
Annie Arvizu (@_arviannie) used her set to write a love letter to her best friend’s apartment. Titled Apt. 46, the photos, even without the artist’s statement, told the story of a safe place, a place of unrestrained and untamed creativity. A place where the creative mind is free to wander and explore. According to Arvizu’s artist statement, “Every time I visit, I leave feeling ready to conquer my next big project. Apt. 46 is a place of refuge, hope & creativity for me. It is a little piece of heaven on Earth & a place full of memories I most certainly won’t forget. Everyone deserves an Apt. 46. Do you have one?”
Courtney Mackenzie Garcia (@courtneygarciaphoto) used the platform to give the viewer a look into the day to day life in Guatemala. Images of children on cannons, people walking along filthy streets and garbage trucks full to the brim were contrasted with images of making dough to show that life prevails, regardless of where it is happening.
Christin Huntsman Rawlings’ collection displayed a world of lines. Rawlings’ used photography to show the geometry present in urban life. The black and white images were in high contrast and the lines were sharp. They were fascinating images, especially when compared to the other submissions in the show, as everything else was more natural or human as opposed to the industrialness of this collection.
Other artists in the show were Jennifer Thayn, who used a combination of fashion and horror imagery in her collection; Sara Payne, who used digital photography to show her love of her family history; and Ben Fuller, who’s use of intense color in natural scenes created a nearly surreal scene out of the mundane.