Photography seniors to showcase thesis projects

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Twelve photography seniors will present their final works as students at Grand Valley State University during the exhibit "Tumultuous."

The exhibition will be on display December 1-12 in the Padnos Student Art and Design Gallery located in room 1121 in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. Gallery hours are: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday.

A reception for the exhibit will take place Thursday, December 3, from 5-7 p.m. during which the students will present and discuss their work. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by Grand Valley's School of Communications, the exhibition will feature photography by Kaitlyn Bowman, Jordan Furest, Nicole Gafa, Megan Kafka, Daniela Lisi, Jane Matta, Jacob Nuss, Doralynn Runyon, Jess Weal, Erin Williams, Christi Wiltenburg and Natasha Yeager.

Wiltenburg said her pieces, collectively called "Aesthete," explore the relationship between the human figure and nature using photograms of objects found in nature.

"The prints are made through a hand-coated photographic printing process called gum bichromate, which uses photographic chemistry combined with watercolors hand-coated per individual layer," Wiltenburg said. "The images are then exposed to sunlight to create a full color image."

Jessica Weal said she put a galactic spin on her senior showcase with her installation entitled, "I Know What I Saw."

"I have put together an installation piece that addresses the possibility of contact with extraterrestrial life," Weal said. "Though the outcome of the work is open for interpretation, it is my hope to play with the suspension of disbelief among each viewer."

Collectively, the 12 students collaborated to plan and execute the exhibition by dividing into teams, including branding, advertising and public relations, exhibition and production.

"For most of us, this is our first gallery exhibition, and therefore, a huge step for our careers," Weal said. "Tackling it all has certainly been no walk in the park, but we're reminded of our common goal, which encourages us to use our unique skills and interests to pull each other through."

While the students have been busy facilitating their exhibition, they have also been reflecting back on how their Grand Valley experiences have helped prepare them for their future careers.

"My experience in the photography program at GVSU has created many opportunities for me, including attending conferences, completing internships and acquiring student jobs on campus," Wiltenburg said. 

Weal added that her time in the photography program helped her grow as an individual and as an artist. "As a student photographer, I've not only been able to further shape my craft, but also really focus on what photography can do for me and others in my community within and surrounding GVSU."

For more information about Tumultuous, contact Colleen Bezuin at (616) 331-2563 or