Let's Talk About Art: Revealing place through photography

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

Does your school have its own vibe? Your neighborhood have its own character? Your street have its own personality? Most people would say yes, but it can be hard to capture that elusive quality with images.

Students from University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.; St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas; and here at Carnegie Mellon University were asked to explore groups, phenomena and locations they felt were cultural barometers of their respective communities -- with a camera. Their combined efforts provide a telling snapshot of the United States at this moment in history.

"Revealing Place: Photographs From Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas" is the culmination of that group project. The exhibit, on view through March 17 at Filmmakers Galleries, features 108 framed photographs by 36 students from the three universities.

Students took photos with traditional 35mm film cameras or used fast point-and-shoot digital cameras, said Pittsburgh-based documentary photographer Dylan Vitone, assistant professor in the School of Design at CMU and chief organizer of the project.

The concept of three colleges collaborating on a region-specific assignment originated from three professors: Joe Johnson, professor of photography at University of Missouri; Joseph Vitone (Dylan's father), professor of photo communications at St. Edward's University; and Dylan Vitone.

Each student has three images in the show on a range of subjects. "Near the end of the semester we came together and picked out the photos that spoke well about the projects as a whole," Dylan Vitone said. "It was very much a team effort all the way through."

"As a group, we talked, we reflected, argued and lobbied for final selection of images."

Modern technology helped facilitate conversations among the three universities, with students uploading work every few weeks on a joint blog. "I think all the individuals involved got inspired by looking at each other's photographs as they evolved and shaped into very strong photo essays," he said.

Dylan Vitone will lead a free gallery talk on the project at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

For details about the show visit: www.revealingplace.com.



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