A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Photo of the art exhibit "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words"

Somewhere We Know: Grossmont College student photography fall exhibition

Janelle Carter, Staff Writer

December 12, 2023

The Hyde Art Gallery held a reception of a photography exhibition called “Somewhere We Know” on Oct. 12. The exhibition’s theme was based on adolescence and the inner turmoil  humans universally experience growing up.

Family and friends gathered to see the hard work and dedication the emerging photographers put into the project. The photographers included Paul Allen Anderson, Ashley Edwards, Justin Ferejan, Chris J. Franco, Lexy Kendall, Salma Zuniga Leon, Alysha Phipps, Alec Sellers, Catalina Valenzuela and Angela Vasquez. 

Upon entering the gallery, the majority of the photography that was displayed in the exhibition was shown in black and white to purposefully invoke feelings of familiarity. The heavy images allow the audience to take a moment to reflect on their childhood memories and to think about how their past experiences hit close to home with the images. 

Alysha Phipps, a Grossmont College student and professional photographer, said the exhibition was a group effort. 

“We met at a little coffee shop, and brought all of our artwork and pieced everything together. We let the artwork talk to us,” Phipps said. “We put everything down, mixed it all up and then we were like, ‘What do these things have in common?’ And, unfortunately, a lot of them were really dark.”

The photographs encompassed various feelings. The images you would see were chaotic, melancholic and gloomy, but also beautiful and heart-warming at the same time. 

“I’ve been photographing family and friends on the side for a long time and I wanted to learn more,” said Catalina Valenzuela, who has been a student at Grossmont for the past two years. She is earning her Certificate of Achievement in Photography and runs her own studio, LunaRoze Photography, in Barrio Logan.

In her portfolio for the exhibition, Valenzuela connected the theme of adolescence by sharing a series of pictures she took in Barrio Logan where she grew up.

“My family grew up there. I grew up there as a kid,” she said. “It always has a very special place in my heart.”

What made the exhibition special was that the photographers brought their unique flair to their work. Their ideas of what they thought the theme meant to them spoke for themselves through the images. 

Alec Sellers, a Grossmont College student, said he usually gets his inspiration for his photography from the environment, and, “how we interact with it and how we’ve built this relationship with it through the years.” 

Sellers added that every now and then he picks up hints of changes humankind has done to the land and how they leave their mark. Sellers is planning on taking his inspiration further and transferring to Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, to receive his bachelor’s in photography.

Although the collaborative process had its challenges, what makes this team of photographers unique is that they all come from different stages of life yet worked together to collectively create an exhibition that was centered on a theme they could all relate to. 

“It was definitely a learning experience,” Phipps said. “There were so many personalities trying to learn how to work with the other personalities. It was kind of difficult at first.” 

Phipps explained that all the students were previously in a course together and working on the exhibition is what helped them build a stronger bond with one another. 

The photographers working together throughout their classes helped them to get to know each other better and eventually, they all became comfortable critiquing one another’s work.

“In the end when we had it all up, it felt like it was worth it,” Sellers said. “We had some kinks along the way, but when we finally got something concrete and started making our prints and putting them on the wall, I remember being in that room helping putting stuff up and I was just like, ‘Finally, I can see this.’”

Photography is another form of communication that can be used to send a message to people. Pictures make a statement without words. Photography allows you to see the world differently than what you are accustomed to. Becoming a photographer opens the door for you to share your perspective of the world for others to see.

If you are a Grossmont College student interested in photography, it’s good to start by taking a professional course. Consider signing up for the program. Take a look at the course descriptions and make plans to meet with a counselor to discuss future academic plans.

The Hyde Art Gallery is located inside the Performing and Visual Arts Center (Building 22). The walk-in hours for the gallery are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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