Exhibit shines new light on old photos

Alumna Cassandra Martinez speaks on her photography with La Verne residents Connie King, Rosemary Doan and senior photography major Kim Toth at the opening reception for “Lost and Found: Rediscovering the Archive” April 4 in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall. The exhibit of student and alumni photography runs through May 24. / photo by Chris Rodriguez
Alumna Cassandra Martinez speaks on her photography with La Verne residents Connie King, Rosemary Doan and senior photography major Kim Toth at the opening reception for “Lost and Found: Rediscovering the Archive” April 4 in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall. The exhibit of student and alumni photography runs through May 24. / photo by Chris Rodriguez

Megan Mojica
Staff Writer 

The Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall at the University of La Verne is currently showcasing the “Lost & Found: Rediscovering the Archive” gallery.

The group exhibit features previous photographs from artists sophomore photography majors Liberty Garcia and Mia Byington, senior journalism major Abelina Nunez, senior digital media major Amanda Torres and alums Cassandra Martinez and Maxwell Sierra. 

The gallery is filled with photographs of the artist’s memories designed as a means to process personal experiences and family dynamics. The photos feature bright hues of blue and pink, textures overlaying photos and meaningful collages. 

“The archive means something different to everybody, whether it’s just their own personal photos or family photos that may be relatives that they don’t even know,” said Kim Toth, senior photography major and exhibit curator. “Just finding ways to repurpose old photos and make them new again.” 

Sophomore photography major Liberty Garcia presents her art to her aunt and uncle Milca and Manuel Elorriaga at the opening reception for “Lost and Found: Rediscovering the Archive” April 4 in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall. The exhibit, which features work by students and alumni, features pieces based on the photographers’ family photos. / photo by Chris Rodriguez
Sophomore photography major Liberty Garcia presents her art to her aunt and uncle Milca and Manuel Elorriaga at the opening reception for “Lost and Found: Rediscovering the Archive” April 4 in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall. The exhibit, which features work by students and alumni, features pieces based on the photographers’ family photos. / photo by Chris Rodriguez

The pieces in the gallery hold memories both positive and negative. Byington said it helped her to process her emotions about moving away from home to a new state for college. 

Her pieces are a series of lumen prints, filled with memories of her life in Washington expressed through light pink and purple. They are meant to confuse the viewer but still give them something to visually appreciate. 

“I hope that people see that even though you’re not exactly sure the outcome of things, it can still be a beautiful process,” Byington said. 

To Sierra, the theme was about mental health. His piece examined how the COVID-19 lockdown affected his mental health. 

His self portraits, which are out of focus and dark, are intended to show that even negative memories can evoke a learning experience and something you can move on from. 

“I wanted other people to look at it and see themselves in that situation… to relate to it,” Sierra said. 

Torres’ photos tell a story about womanhood, she said. Her two sienna prints include women important to her. They were made during a time of mourning for her aunt. 

“It was more of a comfort thing to make the piece,” Torres said. “Hopefully when people look at the exhibit overall they find a sense of comfort.”

Toth was pleased with how her first exhibit as curator turned out. She said she enjoyed seeing the artists’ visions come together.

“I hope that it inspires people to look back at their old photos and see what they can do to repurpose them, or maybe even just remember things that they had forgotten,” Toth said. 

Sierra added that the show was truly about the artists deciding what part of their lives they wanted to share with the public, “forcing the artist to reflect on themselves (whereas) a lot of art galleries are what’s trending, what’s new,” she said.

The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and the exhibit runs through May 24.

Megan Mojica can be reached at megan.mojica@laverne.edu.

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