First-year students will document their freshman year and the changes they undergo during this pivotal point in their lives through a year-long digital photography project conceived by fine art instructor Bennett Morris.
Student photos will be linked to three main topics: the process of change, college life, and nature and our surroundings. “The college’s core value of compassion this year easily links into the new awareness and critical visual investigation at the heart of this kind of exploration into photography,” Morris says.
The Academic Center will sponsor the project as part of its first-year enrichment program. “The hope is that since students are already taking part in a digital lifestyle, we could use this project to connect to that part of their lives and in some ways make it more meaningful,” notes Morris. Introduced during summer orientation, the project will integrate into the first-year mentor program and launch officially during fall orientation in September.
Students will also be asked to write short pieces particulating the connection between the images, the main topics and their lives at the college. Over the course of the year, students will submit images to Morris, who will act as project editor. Selected photos will be uploaded to an ongoing slideshow on a photo-sharing website intended to track and present the progress of the project. At the end of the academic year, another group of images will be selected to be made into prints and displayed on campus. Excerpts from the students’ writings about the images and their time so far at Saint Joseph’s will appear along with the final show of student photos. In addition, a photo book documenting the entire project will be available to all students.
Morris expects students to have fun with the project. “It’s a perfect way for them to get to see some of the new creative initiatives on campus. If they enjoy the project, we will encourage them to take one of the digital photo classes we offer,” he says.