B.K. Smith Gallery to present campus life through a photographer’s lens
Lake Erie College’s B.K. Smith Gallery will present “LEC Landscape: The Way We Live” from Oct. 1 through Nov. 6, 2009. The exhibit will showcase over 55 photographs of Lake Erie College campus life taken by Bob Zyromski, an award-winning photographer.
The exhibit is Zyromski’s panoramic visual survey of life at Lake Erie College since he was hired to take photographs for the College starting in April, 2008. The images depict people, events, activities and places that are life at Lake Erie – “micro-moments,” as the photographer, a one-time college theatre professor, calls them.
“It’s not an exhibit of photojournalism. It is, rather, a microcosmic look at a small, entwined community,” explains Zyromski. “To me, small-college life and its atmosphere lend themselves to a personal commitment to the value of community and improving oneself and others, sometimes immensely.”
“In this collection, my photo work is evidence of the energy and fun that happen in college life,” he continues. “The images also demonstrate that in many ways I’ve been a visual witness to the sometimes-incredible challenges faced daily by students and faculty, whether individual and psychological, or artistic, or athletic or ethnic. The show includes moments of emotional, physical and mental stresses endured – and victories won – mostly small and unheralded.”
“Micro-moments are, after all, with rare exception, the “highlights” of all our lives. From a photography viewpoint, these college-life images show, as well, the visual potential of quotidian reality – everyday situations brought into focus for a split second. Fleeting movements and moments captured presto. A lot of the pictures are also just great fun.”
Zyromski says that, in his photography – as indeed, in all the other visual arts – he favors the less-is-more approach. Most of the exhibit images portray a single thought, a mood, a movement, a gesture – in a mere fraction of a second. Often, subjects are captured moments of “natural” situations that may produce surprisingly fresh, spontaneous, insightful, even unusual images.
The photographer also makes clear that, “This display is, finally, an act of gratitude. Almost universally my subjects were good-natured, willing ‘victims’ of my photographic intrusions. In many cases they were even protagonists in the act of capture. They accepted me. Have allowed me to move through the College scene openly and often invisibly. To become part of their world. To be taken for granted.”
Zyromski also points to the capture of gesture as key to his type of photography. “On her development as a photographer, noted writer Eudora Welty once revealed, ‘I learned that every feeling waits upon its gesture; and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it.’ A Cleveland Plain Dealer photojournalist once told me her photography was ‘legitimate voyeurism.’ Those in the Lake Erie community have let me wait upon so many of their gestures. Have generously permitted my voyeurism. And I am ever grateful.”
A Painesville resident, Zyromski is a longtime professional photographer, teacher and judge. In July 2007 he retired after 25 years as Director of Communications for the Lake County YMCA. He has photographed extensively in the U.S. and abroad. As an associate of Barbian Studios, he photographed the former Cleveland Force and Crunch professional indoor soccer teams.
With a Ph.D. in theatre, his college and professional theatre experience has included directing 40 productions and acting in 30. He also served as a playwright and producer.
The Lake Erie College gallery exhibit is sponsored in part by Van’s Photo of Mentor. Visitors will see images printed by the photo lab on gallery-wrapped canvas and fine-art paper as well as conventional photo papers.
The B.K. Smith Gallery is located on the east side of Lake Erie College on Gillett Street in the Fine Arts Building. Gallery hours are 9 a.m-9 p.m. This exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, call Professor Nancy Prudic at 440.375.7452.