Senior photography majors exhibit the inner workings of the mind

Natalie Medrano, senior photo major (center), poses for a selfie with Shannon Spini and Gretchen Peratt in front of her work in the “State of Mind” reception May 4 at the Irene Carlson Gallery. Spini and Peratt are Medrano’s former teachers from Apple Valley High School. “State of Mind” is the senior thesis exhibition displaying work by photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Casi Martinez, Litsy Tellez and Medano. The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 11. / photo by Kim Toth
Natalie Medrano, senior photo major (center), poses for a selfie with Shannon Spini and Gretchen Peratt in front of her work in the “State of Mind” reception May 4 at the Irene Carlson Gallery. Spini and Peratt are Medrano’s former teachers from Apple Valley High School. “State of Mind” is the senior thesis exhibition displaying work by photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Casi Martinez, Litsy Tellez and Medano. The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 11. / photo by Kim Toth

Rebecca Keeler
Staff Writer 

A senior thesis exhibition featuring the artistic works of photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Casi Martinez, Natalie Medrano and Litsy Tellez opened May 4 in the University of La Verne’s Irene Carlson Gallery with an artist walkthrough and gallery reception.

The exhibition, “State of Mind,” runs until Aug. 11 and captures the artists’ personal mindfulness in a time of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Each photography major utilized diverse methods such as cyanotypes, lumen prints, lift transfers and digital imagery to introduce viewers to their own personal world, exposing how they deal with their ever changing lives.

Agopian featured four archival inkjet prints from excerpts of “Culture Shock.”

“My work is about my way of representing the culture that I grew up with in Lebanon and having immigrated here and experiencing my culture, which was a shock that it is still upheld in very similar ways,” Agopian said. 

Each of his pictures were given a unique title that best represented the image: “The Alphabet,” “Good Living,” “Pomegranate Wine” and “Divination.”

“The work that I created speaks to my past and how it is shaped today in America,” Agopian said. “This is the reason why I call my work ‘Culture Shock.’”

Carranza featured six archival inkjet prints of cyanotype prints from excerpts of “Cruisin’ through 209.”

“For my photos, I was inspired to create a project about my hometown of Stockton, California, and I wanted to give off the idea of cruising through the city and listening to oldies music just like I grew up doing with my family,” Carranza said.

“Cruisin’ Through 209” not only portrays what you would see driving around in Stockton but also represents Carranza’s memories of the city since moving to attend ULV.

“For my project, I created digital images that I made into transparencies in which I placed them on top of cyanotype chemical coated paper and exposed them to light,” Carranza said. “After having them exposed, the image would remain on the paper.” 

Camille C.Nan, sophomore photography major, visits the “State of Mind” reception May 4 at the Irene Carlson Gallery. “State of Mind” is the senior thesis exhibition displaying work by photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Casi Martinez, Natalie Medrano and Litsy Tellez. The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 11. / photo by Kim Toth
Camille C.Nan, sophomore photography major, visits the “State of Mind” reception May 4 at the Irene Carlson Gallery. “State of Mind” is the senior thesis exhibition displaying work by photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Casi Martinez, Natalie Medrano and Litsy Tellez. The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 11. / photo by Kim Toth

Carranza used several techniques to create a sense of imagery with her pictures and enhance her overall message.

“When taking the photos, I wanted to give the sense of what you would see if you were to look out the car window when driving through the city,” Carranza said. “I also wanted to be able to share the parts of the place I call home, a place where not many people know of, and if they do, they only know the bad things about it. I wanted to show that Stockton isn’t just a crime ridden city, but the place I call home.”

Ennis featured four archival inkjet prints from excerpts of “Reversed Echo.”

“My inspiration was a few years ago when I brought my bedroom mirror outside and put flowers on top of it to capture the reflection of the flower and the sky,” Ennis said.

From that experience, Ennis realized that mirrors give people a sense of self-realization and awareness. 

“In my photos, instead of looking at ourselves in the mirrors, we are forced to look at our surroundings and are able to realize the place we have in this world and how we can impact it with everything we do or don’t do,” Ennis said.

Martinez featured six archival inkjet prints of lumen prints from excerpts of “Bringing Home the Bacon.”

“As a photographer, I work toward developing photographs that capture a world that I encounter every day, yet do not understand,” Martinez said on her website. 

When creating photographs, Martinez utilizes household objects such as oil, bacon, soap, plastic and bubble wrap, to add to the image or construct the scene. 

“Through the mixture of these mundane objects, I manipulate household objects to enhance my work and create what I would see in my mind,” Martinez said. “By incorporating alternative processes into my work, I have been able to be more hands-on with the photo making process.” 

Medrano featured seven cyanotype prints from excerpts of “Remix.”

“The main inspiration for my work came from the class alternative processes with Fred Brashear Jr. (adjunct professor of photography) in the Photography Department, where I learned the process of making cyanotypes and lift transfers,” Medrano said.

Casi Martinez, senior photo major, discusses her work with visitors of the “State of Mind” reception May 4 at the Irene Carlson Gallery. “State of Mind” is the senior thesis exhibition displaying work by photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Natalie Medrano, Litsy Tellez and Martinez. The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 11. / photo by Kim Toth
Casi Martinez, senior photo major, discusses her work with visitors of the “State of Mind” reception May 4 at the Irene Carlson Gallery. “State of Mind” is the senior thesis exhibition displaying work by photography majors Nareg Agopian, Armida Carranza, Kaylie Ennis, Natalie Medrano, Litsy Tellez and Martinez. The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 11. / photo by Kim Toth

Medrano’s work focuses on sharing her experiences as a live-event concert photographer. 

“I share my personal experience of alternative processes and capture the bands before, during and after their performances,” Medrano said.

Tellez featured three archival inkjet diptychs from excerpts of “Lookin’ Through.”

“The inspiration behind my work was mostly personal,” Tellez said. 

“I’m a photographer who works in contemporary art that mostly has to do with mental health,” Tellez said.

“Lookin’ Through” is a color photographic series that explores the natural healing properties of The Huntington Library’s botanical gardens. Tellez documents the public and their interactions with the gardens, showing the stillness and peace they facilitate.

“My message behind it is to hopefully encourage viewers to visit their own local botanical gardens and find their own peace and refuge within them.” 

The “State of Mind” senior thesis exhibition is on display in the Irene Carlson Gallery, located on the bottom floor of Miller Hall, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., until Aug. 11. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Rebecca Keeler can be reached at rebecca.keeler@laverne.edu.

Rebecca Keeler, a freshman communications major with a concentration in public relations and a music minor, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Kim Toth, a junior photography major, is photography editor for the Campus Times and a staff photographer for La Verne Magazine. Her work can be found in Instagram at @kim_t_photos and @kimberlytothphotos.

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