Diverse student photography on display at CMC ArtShare Gallery

Flyer for CMC Spring 2014 Photography Student ShowA new exhibit of photographic works by Colorado Mountain College students is on display through April 25 at the CMC ArtShare Gallery in downtown Glenwood Springs. The featured photographers will be available to answer questions and discuss the art of photography at a free opening reception on March 21.

Derek Johnston, professor and director of the professional photography program at CMC, describes the exhibit as a showcase of recent student work in a wide-ranging variety of visions and styles. “Because students in our program are encouraged to develop their own unique ways of seeing,” he said, “the show is a good representation of the diverse work that comes out of the curriculum.”

Not only did students compose and capture the shots, they also participated in curating the exhibit and processed and framed their own work. “For some, these are the biggest prints they’ve ever done,” said Johnston. “They’re learning about the professionalism and attention to detail needed to hang a piece on a gallery wall.” Johnston speaks, and teaches, from experience. His photographic series of 14ers is currently on display at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library.

Focus on technique, subject, attention to detail marks student work

From unusual portraits and reflections on the human spirit, to journalistic, commercial and art prints, the photos in the student exhibit are as varied as the students who composed them.

Cody Bainbridge, who lives at Crystal River Ranch, is drawn to images of the outdoor, Western lifestyle that she cherishes. “Three quarters of my shots, I take off the back of a horse,” she said. “When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me that we were a dying breed.” She didn’t know what he meant then, but now she feels called to capture the images of a world that may be vanishing before her eyes.

A mother of two, Bainbridge returned to college in 2013 to hone her photographic skills after a long hiatus. “I was really apprehensive after being out of school for almost 20 years,” she said, “but it’s been great. Especially being a mom, the classes really work out well for my schedule.

Bainbridge’s exhibition photo of a ranching ritual, titled “The Branding Pen,” was a semifinalist in this year’s international College Photographer of the Year competition.

While at CMC, Jason Kaplan (J.K.) developed an interest in layering techniques and capturing the feeling of action in still shots. In October, one of his photographs appeared in the magazine “Rock and Ice.”

“I’m interested in adventure-based photography, documenting athletes doing extreme sports and the landscape, magnificent sunsets or beautiful starry nights,” he said. Unlike many photographers, Kaplan prefers to shoot at night. “A lot of photographers call it a day when the sun goes down,” he said, “but I’m just getting started.”

One of Kaplan’s techniques is to take long exposures, or to stack exposures to create “star trail” photography. His image on display in the gallery was created with this method. “The final exposure is about three hours of exposures stacked together,” he said, “so you can see the stars move across the sky.”

Program encourages individual pursuits

“The thing I love about our program director [Johnston] is he doesn’t push you toward a certain subject,” said CMC professional photography student Molly Repetti. “He supports you in going where you want to go.”

Repetti’s destination is commercial fashion photography. “My mom used to sell makeup,” she said. Drawn to the vibrant colors and lush photography, Repetti loved “the upbeat, fast-paced feel of the industry.”

She recently approached an Aspen talent agency and has begun doing work with professional models. Next semester she’ll be preparing a portfolio to go after a job in fashion photography. “If I hadn’t come here, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now,” she said.

The student photography exhibit will be on display through April 25 at the CMC ArtShare Gallery at 802 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs. A free reception, open to the public, is set for Friday, March 21, from 6 to 8 p.m.