By John Magee

While the all of Junior Journey May Options tend to be a popular choice amongst FSC students, one of the most popular trips offered this past May was the Essence of Europe trip. The Junior Journey program served as an Introduction to Photography and an Advanced Photography class which allowed travelers to learn the principles of photography while visiting some of the most photogenic regions of the world. The trip traveled across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and England.

On Friday, Sept. 2, the Melvin Art Gallery opened The Essence of Europe: Photographs from the 2016 Study Abroad Trip, a showcase of some of the photos taken during the group’s travels. Unlike the majority of art show openings, the Essence of Europe gallery gave students who were not art majors a chance to have their work featured in the Melvin Art Gallery. Brianne Bennett, a Psychology major, was one of the non-majors that had her art shown in the exhibit.

“It was pretty surreal honestly,” Bennett said. “To me, they were photos that I had worked really hard on, both to get the proper camera settings and to touch them up in Photoshop. So I was incredibly proud of them and seeing them on the walls in the gallery was like confirmation that my work was noticed and appreciated.”

Graphic Design major Katie Eldridge was a student in the advanced photography class during the trip. She had a few of her photographs shown in the gallery as well.

“Personally, I love abstraction so the whole trip being so overwhelming and enveloping was expressed through how I moved the architecture around my composition and the kaleidoscope style,” Eldridge said.

Much of the art of the advanced students has clearly been edited in post-production, whether through reflection, warping or the addition of a kaleidoscope style. In contrast, some of the photos on display contain minimal editing changes, thus appearing raw on display.

Although taking a photograph today is something that the majority camera phone users do not put thought into due to the accessibility of smartphone technology, photographers and the students that traveled on the trip admit that true photography requires more effort. White balance, aperture and shutter speed were taken into consideration in order to turn a photograph into a piece of art worthy of display in the gallery. For one photo of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, Bennett had to “take like 50 photos of the same thing while standing in the rain to get that photo.”

The Essence of Europe photo gallery will be on display at the gallery through Friday, Sept. 16. On, Friday, Sept. 23, the gallery will open a new exhibition, An Homage to Architecture: Richard Haas, Master of Trompe L’Oeil.

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