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Photo Exhibit Urges Viewer To See 'World Through Our Eyes'

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, November 10, 2013

Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2013 21:11

The World Through Our Eyes

Alex Gaynor / Heights Editor

From now until Nov. 30, the level one gallery of O’Neill Library showcases Boston College’s International Education Week Photo Exhibition, proving that after celebrating its 150th anniversary, BC is “more international than ever.” This student photography exhibition, sponsored by the Office of International Students and Scholars and the Boston College Libraries, celebrates the presence of BC students in countries all across the world.

From mission trips to vacations, each photo captures a special moment that the student experienced while visiting another country. The exhibition also celebrates the excellent photography skills of the students. Each photo utilizes bright colors, light contrasts, and interesting perspectives to give the entire exhibition a professional air.

Nearly 50 different photographs line the walls of the gallery, each a small rectangle displayed on a simple black background. Beneath each photograph is a tiny box of text where the student explains the circumstances in which the photo was taken and some details on why the photo is special to them. The clarity and simplicity with which the photographs are displayed, however, only heighten their bright and lively content. When standing in the room, surrounded on three sides by the lines of photographs, it becomes nearly impossible to decide which one to focus on first. The best way to see the exhibit is to go around the room to fully appreciate the individuality and beauty of each piece as well as the unique stories of each photographer.

Some of the most interesting photographs of the collection feature the natives of the various countries. In these photographs, the BC students step back and allow each individual to speak for him or herself. In “Kid Eating a Mango,” by Carlos Bello, CGSOM ’15, a young member of the Jiui Tribe from the savannah of Venezuela enjoys a ripe mango while smiling at the camera. The boy’s white shirt makes a stark contrast against the bright green mango he eats and teal wall he stands in front of, making this photo a great example of the lively colors seen throughout the exhibit. Bello, who was on a service trip doing social work with a native Venezuelan community, is just one example of BC students mingling with and learning from the native children of the countries they visit. In “Just Sipping,” photographer Katie Cutting, CSON ’14, captures two young Haitian girls drinking from plastic cups while laughing and gazing into the camera. Cutting took this photo while on an independent study in Borgne, Haiti, aiding at a dental clinic.

Another intriguing photograph in the collection is one of a Mayan business woman working at a produce stand, surrounded by verdant vegetables and bright fruits which stand out along with her orange garb. This photograph, called “Market Day in Zacualpa” and taken by Natali Soto, CSOM ’14, is a rare one, as Soto explains that Mayans tend to dislike having their pictures taken.

Other photographs merely celebrate the unique and beautiful landscapes of other countries. “Sunset over Rio de Janeiro,” by Kilbourn Gordon, CSOM ’14, shows a cloudy skyline from atop Pao de Acucar, a mountain overlooking the Brazilian city and famous Christ the Redeemer statue. In “Night in Shanghai,” photographer Zhou Yu, CSOM ’14, captures a shot of various buildings reflecting the bluish light of dusk while in China for a family reunion.

The photograph that speaks the most to BC’s history with international connections is “BC Sings for Pope John Paul II,” provided by Susan Shea and dating back to March of 1997. Shea was once a BC student and now works in the Office of International Students and Scholars. This photograph shows the continuance of BC’s presence abroad over the years and how this presence has only become more of a priority to the university and its students.

This exhibition strives to show the diversity within the BC community and students’ efforts to represent this diversity abroad through visiting and living among communities in foreign countries. From Mexico to Brazil to Taiwan to Tibet, these photographs cover unique people and places from all across the globe. The exhibition not only brings together BC students with people from these countries, but it also brings together the students with one another through these shared experiences. The purpose of these photographs is for students to share something special about their trips to other members of the BC community. We are seeing the world through the eyes of other travelers, our fellow students, and the true beauty of these messages can only be seen in the photographs.

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