On December 5th, 2014, I had the privilege of presenting my digital exhibit with my peers at the Yale CEID Becton Center. I was fortunate to have many of my most supportive faculty and graduate mentors present at the event, although I was also excited about showing my work to other attendees with whom I was not acquainted. In my introduction before I showed the images, I tried to give attendees a sense of my vision – an exhibit conveying images of feminist possibility and elucidating a counternarrative about mobility in Los Angeles.
Additionally, I was thrilled to see the images I curated being projected on the side of Yale’s gothic SSS building. These were mostly images of Chicana women who come from my background, and it felt amazing to see two of my worlds clash in such a visually impactful way. Throughout my presentation, I also played the audio of an interview with Rosie, who is a central figure in my project. Since my project was all-photography, I encouraged attendees to go outside and experience the exhibit by looking at the images on the side of the building. I wanted to give my attendees the opportunity to engage with the material in dynamic ways.
I also encouraged attendees to give feedback on flashcards that I passed out and collected at the end of my presentation. In giving the audience the freedom to comment on anything, I was able to discern what aspects of the exhibit provoked thought. Some attendees asked, why photography? My answer is that photography conveys instantaneous messages about the body that is captured, especially if situated in a particular context. There are idiosyncrasies of identity that can only be articulated in the visual, in the aesthetic, and this is a possibility that I wanted to highlight in my project. Other questions were related to temporality in photography, while others were curious about the tensions between feminist self-representation and objectifying marketing inherent in branding a clothing line. These were all important questions that will require more thought and investigation on my part, and I am glad that these contradictions led to engagement with questions that exceeded the scope of my exhibit.
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