Mel Chircop: Love & Identity

Friday, October 15, 2021

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Love & Identity

BFA Photography Exhibition

Black Gallery, SJSU Art Building Room 204

This photo project centers individuals of the queer community, with a focus on two main ideas. One, how we feel we are viewed by the greater society; and two, how we express our individuality and confidence. To represent the former, one photo was taken from a distance. For the latter, another was taken much closer to the individuals photographed. In the first photo, the individuals look back into the camera as if staring back at the society looking in on them. They are far away, hard to really see, a piece of the landscape around them. The second photo is then focused entirely on them. It is what happens when we really look at who these people are, when we look at their strength and the essence of their being.

I photographed everyone in a location with which they hold a connection to. I did this because I wanted each shoot to be entirely about who I am photographing ... especially in regard to how they feel in the places they often frequent, whilst carrying all aspects of their identity. I then asked everyone to handwrite a reflection about why they chose this place, what their connection to it is, and how they feel when they are there. Everyone photographed ended up choosing a location where they feel peace and comfortability.

To create the work itself, I used a medium format camera designed to capture square images. I specifically chose the square format to represent the “box” that members of this community are often placed in. Oftentimes, it is not so easy to define and stamp us with labels, as you may read in some of the reflections.

I hope that when these images are viewed, people are able to see both the identities carried by those photographed, as well as see past them in a way. I hope viewers reach an empathic connection to the humanity of each individual photographed.


- - -  About Student Art Exhibitions - - -

BFA, MA, and MFA students to present one- or two-person exhibitions in fulfillment of degree requirements. The Student Galleries include six individual galleries in the Department of Art & Art History and one student gallery in Design that may be used for object-based or process/time-oriented installations, performances, and displays. These are supplemented with numerous display cases, wall areas, and mural spaces that serve as a showcase and educational forum for students, both individually and as part of class projects. With exhibitions changing weekly in the Student Galleries and supplementary display areas, over 200 exhibits of student artwork are presented every year. 

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