The Daily Northwestern

ETHS students share views on identity, self-expression in photography exhibit

Five+Evanston+Township+High+School+students+present+at+Evanston+Public+Library.+The+students+displayed+their+%E2%80%9Cphotovoice%E2%80%9D+projects+%E2%80%94+where+photos+are+hung+beside+captions+expressing+the+artist%E2%80%99s+intent.
Five Evanston Township High School students present at Evanston Public Library. The students displayed their “photovoice” projects — where photos are hung beside captions expressing the artist’s intent.

Five Evanston Township High School students present at Evanston Public Library. The students displayed their “photovoice” projects — where photos are hung beside captions expressing the artist’s intent.

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Five Evanston Township High School students present at Evanston Public Library. The students displayed their “photovoice” projects — where photos are hung beside captions expressing the artist’s intent.

Alane Lim, Reporter

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Evanston Township High School students explored social justice issues through captioned photography at a library exhibit that opened Tuesday.

Five members of the Students without Borders Club displayed their “photovoice” projects, with photos hung beside captions describing the artists’ intent at Evanston Public Library. The event — co-hosted by EPL and Kids Global Network, Inc., an organization that uses the arts to help disadvantaged students — was the culmination of a six-week project where students learned narrative photography, photo editing and captioning.

Miguel Ruiz, EPL’s Latino engagement librarian and one of the project’s facilitators, told The Daily the exhibit had two main goals: to provide a platform for students to express themselves and to share the talents of students, who often go unnoticed in the wider community.

During the presentation Tuesday, he said the project is also a way for the community to explore the positive aspects of immigration. He stressed that a diversity of perspectives, especially in local communities, brings a valuable voice to the conversation on immigration.

“We hear about (immigration) a lot in national news, but the fact is that here in Evanston, in our own schools and in our own communities, the positive aspects of immigration are alive and thriving,” Ruiz said in the presentation.

ETHS freshman Ryan Lardner said she participated to learn more about immigration on a personal level. Her work commented on how perceptions based on outer appearance may not reflect “what is actually on the inside.”

She presented an image of a girl in a yellow shirt and ripped jeans, and included a caption challenging viewers whether they really knew the girl in the picture. Lardner also displayed a photo of her clothes, which she described as an important way for her to express herself to the outside world.

“When you look at this image, you probably just see clothes,” her caption read. “What you don’t know is you’re looking directly at me. … The way the eyes of the world see me.”

ETHS sophomore Daina Bellini also explored ideas of self-expression and presentation through clothing. She displayed a photo of some of her shoes, including a caption about how her shoes told a story about her.
“Everything I do is in what I wear,” she said.“I dress how I feel every day.”

Evanston resident Marianne Moberly said Bellini’s work was powerful. Though Bellini presents herself to the world as tough on the outside, as shown in her photography, Moberly said she was interested by the contrasting personality described in her written caption.

Moberly added that captions were useful in clarifying the artist’s intent.

“If I just saw the picture and didn’t know the story that was associated with it, I would interpret it a different way,” Moberly said. “The written statement provides that personal background to the image. It’s what the artist was thinking when they created (it).”

The showcase will run through January.

Email: alane.lim@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thisisalane

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