Photo students display ‘Found in Manila’ project

Daniel Vasilchuk

A group of Sacramento State senior photography majors got a chance to showcase their work on Friday at a photography exhibit titled “Found in Manila,” held at Beatnik Studios, on 17th Street and Broadway.

This semester’s senior portfolio class projects included a roll of toilet paper imprinted with images, a photo collage of a white dress shirt and black tie, and other abstract photos.

Nigel Poor, assistant professor of photography, said the tradition of having her students enrolled in her senior portfolio class do their projects based on things they found in envelopes started three years ago. The envelopes were filled by the previous semesters senior portfolio class.

“Whether it’s an object, a statement, directions that had to be followed – they all had to use whatever they found inside,” Poor said.

At the exhibit, one of the student’s photos was based on a pair of woman’s size eight black high heels and a gem broach that was found in the envelope. The photo, created by Ashley Knight, senior photography major, was what looked like a crime scene, with a woman’s black high heels peeking out from underneath a stark-white body bag.

Poor said this is the third time the photos are being exhibited at Beatnik Studios.

Wes Davis, co-owner of Beatnik and a Sac State alumnus, was one of Poor’s first students to help start the tradition.

Davis said initially he did not think there was much to interpret from what he found inside his own envelope, but the final product came out well.

“I got instructions to photograph myself every morning for a week,” Davis said. “I was taking pictures of myself instead of pushing snooze on my alarm clock.”

Davis said although he did not remember taking most of these pictures, this is what contributed to the final look of the photo collage. By putting together pictures of himself barely awake, he found meaning for his project: a dreamscape.

Poor said students are responsible for planning the reception, putting the show together and framing everything, all the while working on the project.

“I’m really proud,” Poor said. “I’m always excited to see what they put up and how well they hang it.”

Arynn Duncan, senior photography major, created a personal reflection photo based on slivers of plaque and metal frame she found in an envelope.

“The process was creative, very pushing, (and) very much thinking outside of your own box,” Duncan said.

Kaitlyn Williams, junior liberal studies major, came to the exhibit to see how the final projects would turn out.

“It’s very interesting, I actually took one of those pictures,” Williams said. “I didn’t really know what they were doing (with the project), and now I kind of understand it.”

Davis, who co-founded Beatnik with Lindsay Calmettes, also a Sac State alumna, said the reason he displays the exhibit at Beatnik is because of the good feeling that comes with being involved with something from the ground up.

“We love Nigel. It feels good to give back to the school that we got our education from,” Davis said.

Daniel Vasilchuk can be reached at [email protected]

Click here to see a video about the ‘Found in Manila’ project