SMC students celebrate photographic works

Santa Monica College photography students showed their work at the 34th installment of the annual Photography Student Exhibition at the Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery and the Photography Gallery in Drescher Hall last Saturday night. The exhibit gave students a chance to display their best work and compete for awards in several categories against each other.

Of the 700-plus photographs that were submitted for the exhibit, 185 were shown. The selection was made by a jury of 18 SMC faculty members from the photo department. One winning photograph in each category was selected by a jury of the four full-time photo department faculty members, President and Superintendent Chui L. Tsang and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jeff Shimizu, said Larry Jones, SMC professor of photography. Michael Lim won this year's Best of Show award with his photograph of two windows, with blinds down, on each side of a door dressed with the American flag. "His photograph is very interesting," Jones said. "The motive is two-dimensional, which usually bores you, but this one draws you in, and it doesn't let you out."

Focus, composition and lighting were considered during the selection. However, those were not the only criteria on which photos were judged.

"A photograph can have, for example, horrible composition and still make it, because it is interesting," Jones said.

The variety of subject matter was wide and included sports, landscapes, mild nudity, food and portraits.

Winners in Best of Portrait, Best of Experimental and Best of Show are shown in the Photography Gallery, while Best of Commercial, Best of Photo 1, Best of Video, Best of Color, and Best of Black & White are shown at the Performing Arts Campus gallery.

The 51 photographs shown in the Drescher Hall gallery were for students who had two or more pictures accepted in the exhibit. Previous winners' work is also displayed at the gallery.

Some of the students who had their work up for viewing also attended the reception.

Einhard Buckheim described his digital photograph of a woman at the Union Station. "The architecture and lighting at Union Station is wonderful," he said. "The photograph tells a story."

Mauricio Abaroa, an attendee, was impressed with the students' work and emphasized the importance of the opportunity to have their work showcased.

"They get a chance to compare their work to other students', and also get it critiqued," he said. "Their work is incredible."

Jones, who started the show 34 years ago, is very proud of the overall quality in this year's exhibit.

"It has really moved up from previous years," Jones said.

This year's show was also Jones' last, as he will pass the photography department torch on to Ford Lowcock.

"It's time to move on now," Jones said. "It feels good." The Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery is located in the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center at 1310 11th St. The Photography Gallery is located on the second floor of Drescher Hall.

The show will run through March 26 to April 20, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.