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‘Simple Gifts’ illustrates true sincerity

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The University of La Verne Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography is exhibiting "Simple Gifts," by the San Francisco photographer Julie Brown. The show of two sets of photographs explores the moments before a wedding and the children of the East Oakland Boxing Association. Lisa Meyer, dean of admissions, spent a few moments looking at Candy Break, a picture of bridesmaids buying snacks at a Buddhist Temple in San Francisco. / photo by Vicky Martinez

The University of La Verne Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography is exhibiting “Simple Gifts,” by the San Francisco photographer Julie Brown. The show of two sets of photographs explores the moments before a wedding and the children of the East Oakland Boxing Association. Lisa Meyer, dean of admissions, spent a few moments looking at Candy Break, a picture of bridesmaids buying snacks at a Buddhist Temple in San Francisco. / photo by Vicky Martinez

by Dora Galván
Staff Writer

Freelance photographer Julie Brown captures intense moments before a wedding and children’s emotions while boxing in a project titled “Simple Gifts.”

Her depictions of these diverse events are currently on display in the University of La Verne’s Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography.

Representations of emotions that a human beings experiencing moments before promising complete devotion to another human being are captured in Brown’s artistic photographs.

“This is the work that I’m most proud of right now,” said Brown.

Brown captures these moments in a realistic way. From photographing a bride smoking a cigarette to photographing a groom looking at himself in a mirror for the last time as a single man, Brown takes these events and exposes the emotions that most people forget to remember.

The gallery also includes photographs of the East Oakland Boxing Association, a non-profit organization located in Oakland, Calif. This is a place where children attend to box after school, or just receive help with school assignments. The irony of this place is that it exists in the heart of East Oakland, a place where children are exposed to drugs and crime at every corner.

Brown, in her artist’s statement, wrote, “The light was beautiful, the youth were passionately involved in what they were doing. On that day I made two photographs that remain in my portfolio. I returned during the next several months. Each time I entered, I was greeted with a smile and welcomed into whatever activity was under way.”

Viewers of the boxing photographs have the opportunity to experience the different emotions that exist in children as they spend their time in a positive way rather than running the streets and using drugs.

“Drawn this way and that by the occasions of our lives, the photographer spends her time to make little slices of human experience that the rest of us, who visit these pictures, might not otherwise visit. It’s a gift, simply, such as the nurture of a child and the promise to a spouse, that we, each of us, shall give to another, and another,” wrote Professor of Photography Gary Colby in Brown’s artist statement.

“Some of the pictures are really moving. It looks like it’s a place that is poverty stricken, and you can see that the youth is trying to fight their way out of that area,” said senior English major Jacob Moreno.

Simple Gifts will be on display until April 6, and the gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Brown is currently working on a project that exposes the reality of children that age out of foster care once they reach the age of 18.

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