Student mobile photo gallery promotes community among photographers

Jessica Darling

The new student organization Focal Point recently hung up a mobile photo gallery with student work from both the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Visual Communication Design.

The mobile photo gallery was hung in time for the Ohio News Photo Association (ONPA) contest held at Kent State from April 17-19, and the announcement of the Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship winners.

“Every year the ONPA has a contest for photojournalist across Ohio including college kids and professionals,” said Graham Smith, a sophomore visual journalism major. “Some of the photos originally on the wall were entered in the contest. So, we needed an alternate idea, so that the walls weren’t blank.”

The Hagedorn Scholarship is a scholarship for students who are photojournalists and photo illustrators in the schools of JMC and VCD, said David Foster, assistant professor in JMC.

“The gallery is a combination of JMC and VCD students’ work,” Foster said. “One element of the Hagedorn Scholarship is part of the scholarship money each year helps fund photo illustration scholarships too, which is in the VCD department.”

The Hagedorn Scholarship was able to grant money to the following 23 students: Rachael Le Goubin, Amani Williams, Jenna Watson, Eslah Attar, Rylie Cersani, Erin McLaughlin, Andrea Noall, Graham Smith, Melanie Nesteruk, Brittany Wittrup, Rachel Rankin, Alex Ledet, Raven Tidwell, Abigail Littlejohn, MaKayla Brown, Dave Dermer, Kayla McMillen, Dane Lucas, Emily Vaeth, Kristi Garbrant, Aaron Self, Nikolas Frazier and Elaine Waller.

“The point of the Hagedorn Scholarship is to create a community and partnership that connects those in the student body together,” Foster said.

Focal Point is doing the same thing as the scholarship, and the mobile photo gallery is an indication of that.

Focal Point was established in the fall of 2014 as a photography club, said Tyler Hill, a senior visual journalism major and vice president of Focal Point.

“It’s really just a way for students to learn skills outside of the classroom that they are not learning in the classroom,” Hill said. “I feel a lot of people seem to think they are not learning as much of things in class as they’d like to be. So, they want to find other ways, and we wanted to supplement that.”

The student mobile photo gallery the organization put up includes pictures from students in JMC and VCD, Hill said.

“It’s kind of a bridge between JMC and VCD,” Hill said. “Focal Point is trying to have a good photo community in Kent, not just a photojournalist community or an illustration community. We’re all just photographers and need to be a community among us and include everyone.”

Contact Jessica Darling at [email protected].