c/o Alexandra Turtil, Assistant Photo Editor

c/o Alexandra Turtil, Assistant Photo Editor

“e/motion,” an exhibition of student photography spanning a diverse range of subjects, debuted on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha South Gallery. Curated by WesPhoto, an organization for student photographers, the show synthesizes the work of students of all class years and experience levels. From majestic natural landscapes to intimate family portraiture, the works on display culminate in a skillful expression of photography’s ability to capture the many facets of life.

As I stepped to the right of Zilkha’s entrance, past the current exhibition of painting and sculpture, the rectangular nook of the South Gallery had been transformed by vibrant, glossy prints covering each wall. The space felt both expressive and accessible, its series of photographs accompanied by a packet presenting the information on each work as well as a description supplied by the photographer. The unique captions helped bring the photos to life, offering a creative look into the ideas and process of the photographers. The resulting experience of progressing from nighttime urban landscapes like “Fast and Furious” by Nick Sng ’23 to facial close-ups like “Suds” by Isabel Echavarria ’23 was one of many compelling yet approachable creative observations.

One of the greatest strengths of “e/motion” is its ability to provide a gallery platform for a spectrum of student photographers. Kelly Nano-Miranda ’23, who caught wind of the show through WesPhoto’s Instagram page, utilized the opportunity to present landscapes and family scenes from Chorrillos, a district of Lima, Peru. Works like “Retrato de la familia” and “Nadie Llora” display the many expressions a family gathering can take, while “Como puedo olvidarme de ti” puts the viewer in the shoes of being on the beach in Chorrillos.

c/o Aiden Malanaphy, Assistant Photo Editor

c/o Aiden Malanaphy, Assistant Photo Editor

“I didn’t expect much [from contributing], it just felt like sharing some of the photos I took recently,” Nano-Miranda said. “I just tried to capture the ambiance of what it was like to be reunited with my family after kind of a long time.”

Having always been artistically inclined and involved in mediums from clay bead to printing on clothing, Nano-Miranda found and fell in love with photography through coursework as a sophomore. Exhibiting at “e/motion” provided not only a place for this interest to be put on display but also a welcome creative juxtaposition to class activities. 

“I think it’s always exciting to have the opportunity to show any type of work in this more formal capacity in the gallery because you don’t really get that opportunity as much as a beginner,” Nano-Miranda said. “Having it be just photos I took, not under an assignment, is fun because it’s work that is just something I’m proud of but also something I know came out organically instead of something I had to do for a class.”

The series’ landscapes, picturing locations from Chorrillos to New York City, were thoughtfully interspersed with close-up shots of human subjects. These included photographs of Joseph Godslaw ’23, whose photo “I feel” centers a figure covering their face with an orange shirt against a background of stark tree branches. The image description explains how it is part of a series investigating gestures of the Black body, with the subject executing a deconstruction of space through movement or performance. Interpreting the show’s double-entendre theme of emotion through honed artistic perspective, Godslaw’s work arises from an evolving background in photography. 

“I first started photography in my early teens [when] it was a way for me to cope,” Godslaw said. “It was very therapeutic for me, I went through a lot of issues of anxiety and depression and photography became a way for me to cope with life and things going around me. At the time my school didn’t have a photo club or any photography so I introduced it to my school and I was the president until I graduated.”

For Godslaw, this background was translated into a more conceptual focus within the context of the University. 

“Studio art classes at [the University] allow you to think about photos conceptually, not just as you taking it,” Godslaw said. “Now I start thinking of ways to be creative with it, more conceptual with my ideas and how I want to express my ideas, and I started pulling ideas from different themes from movies, from films, from life, from myself, and expressing my ideas as a Black man in America.”

In preparing photographs for this exhibition, Godslaw found this creative intuition well-suited for the multilayered ideas embodied by the show’s name. The show presents images at the crossroads of movement and energy, an idea Godslaw has a unique spin on.

“The theme, e/motion, is something that I connected with in some of my work,” Godslaw said. “It’s a play on words, a double entendre, motion and emotion, like you communicate an emotion, true emotions, and I feel like the works that I gave kind of did that. The three works I put in the exhibition capture emotions translated into motion, [whether] it’s the motion of embracing yourself, embracing identity, emotion of flexibility, emotion. There’s so much emotion that was portrayed in the work that I made and it tied into what I really had an idea for.”

In bringing together such a tight yet varied collection of student works, “e/motion” curators were faced with a difficult task. Given the sheer breadth of subjects on display, choosing how to transform a pool of submissions appears to have been a delicate process. WesPhoto President Ava Nederlander ’22, Vice President Alexandra Turtil ’24, and Event Organizer Adam Cyzner ’25 who curated “e/motion” together, helped facilitate this process by focusing primarily on making selections of the submitted photographs and coordinating with student photographers. 

“I was honestly shocked by the number of high quality submissions we received, which made it extra difficult to select the photos that are displayed right now,” Cyzner wrote in a message to The Argus. “We thought we wouldn’t even have 30 submissions before the deadline, but we ended up with many more than that. I also helped in designing the layout of the photographs, which was especially challenging because of limited wall space and the fact that we needed to tell a story about the spectrum of motion in our lives through these images.”

Told through the intriguing plethora of photographs that made it on the wall, the exhibition’s narrative is one of significant range. It is not every day that student photography sourced from all corners of campus finds such a gallery environment, and with “e/motion,” this has occurred in unmissable form. The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, Feb. 13, when a closing reception is planned for 4 p.m.


Ava Nederlander is a Photo Editor for The Argus.

Alexandra Turtil is an Assistant Photo editor for The Argus.

Adam Cyzner is a Contributing Photographer for The Argus.

Aiden Malanaphy can be reached at amalanaphy@wesleyan.edu.

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