Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"The Lawrence Difference" - A Social Commentary

     Commenting on society is a very risky thing because you are bound to offend some portion of the population; making a social critique on a community as small and tight-knit as Lawrence seems even more daunting. Although in incorporating social critiques one does not seek to offend or upset anyone, I believe there is strength in pointing out something that might have otherwise been invisible to even just one person. 

     Using Robert Frank's style of taking the everyday mundane and using it to comment on society, I tackled the large issue of "lack of diversity" at Lawrence University. In the sense that I am trying to portray it as, "diversity' can take on many different meanings. To one person my photographs can be about race, to another gender, and to another even randomness might come through. It is this fluidity of meaning that I was reaching for in this project. I want any Lawrence student or faculty member to see these photographs and ultimately see a part of themselves in the work. Many people on this campus believe that lack of diversity is no longer an issue. I believe that is not true. Whether you are part of the majority or part of the minority, you are part of a something larger than yourself and it is important to reflect on what those things might be. 

      The Lawrence "Difference", is an examination into the social fabrication of Lawrence University. 
Each photo I have chosen displays a public area of Lawrence University tailored to represent the reality of its student and faculty.


  1. Steven,

    I truly enjoyed the inclusion and uniformity of your shots that everyone - no matter race, gender or sexuality- can relate to these stills. I really enjoy the editing of the colors in each photo. In some photos, for example, "Classroom", the colors share the same grey color palette. However, in some stills, for example, "Paired", the colors are purposely contrasted to show the same shape yet different color. I think you defiantly captured the theme of diversity or lack of through the composition and editing of your photos.

  2. Steven,

    I really enjoyed the photo set you created for this project and how well your photos fit with your theme and your social commentary about diversity at Lawrence. Not only were your photos diverse in color, but in shape and composition, implying that diversity can come in many forms. Diversity at Lawrence is not limited to racial diversity, but also can include diversity in personalities, interests, sexuality, gender, and much more. All of your photos were very striking to the viewer and clearly transmitted your message about diversity. Diversity is indeed a completely fluid word and you really captured this by showing a wide variety of objects, settings, and compositions.

  3. Steven! I'm so obsessed with your set of photos. You have a really great eye for composition and editing, I'm incredibly jealous. To comment on your goals with this project, they were a total success for me. I found myself identifying with your photos and really connecting with a few of them, particularly "Reflection." Being of a racial minority on campus, I love that your project expanded my definition of diversity here at Lawrence. Great work! You'll have to teach me some of your editing techniques sometime. :)

  4. Steven, I have to say, from the time we were freshmen, I have always thought your digital work was outstanding! This was the first time I was getting to see how you work with photographs/stills vs. video, and I was beyond impressed once again. After looking and really thinking about your set of photos in the privacy of my room, I came to the realization that not only are your photos are timeless, but they are also universal. I think there is something greater and deeper than this just being about "the Lawrence difference" and perhaps you should think about exploring that further with your book. I agree with Ariel, you do have a great eye for composition and your editing is carefully thought out and impeccable in execution.

  5. Steven, you photos are powerful in composition, lighting contrast and the subtlety of the point that you make. There is a very coherent theme throughout your work and this makes your photo set very effective as a unit. I find the photos "Mirror Sector of the Theater Department" "Seats in Memorial Hall", "Odd One Out" and "Classroom" to be the most visually striking. The symmetry and repetition of furniture in your set reminded me of these photographs of theaters by Frank Bohbot

  6. You have an amazing eye for composition! This album is so well put together, and you have an incredible professional quality to your work.