Student work inspires future DC artists

(Published on September 30, 2014 in The Chronicle and online: )


Walking down the C-wing of the first floor at Durham College you see corkboards lining the walls with different events or opportunities either pinned or stapled to them.

But turn left to get to L-wing and that’s where you will find striking photographs lining the walls.

“When I first saw it, I was inspired by the photographers who attend Durham College,” said Lisa Hughes, a photography graduate. “Being a photography student myself it was neat to see the photographs on the wall and knowing I’m attending a great school with talented students alike.”

For the past 12 years, Oliver Fernandez, photography and video support specialist at Durham College, has chosen the photos that line these walls.

“I want to get new work up every year to showcase different students,” he said.

The photographs that are chosen are mostly second-year students but there are some first-years on display too.

The hallway has both colour and black and white photos that showcase a variety of different talents.

“There was a lot of strong images of models but I didn’t want it to be just that,” said Fernandez. “We can’t put up 15 – 20 portraits because it really wouldn’t be showcasing their diverse talents, so I chose to show that diversity.”

The digital photography program allows students to shoot everything from food, fashion, small products like watches, male and female models, different generations as well as buildings and landscapes.

Hughes appreciates that variety.

“I loved looking at one photograph to the next because they were all their own,” she said.

Having to choose these photos isn’t just about them being in colour or black and white or showing a variety. It’s also about art.

“There’s one with lingerie that’s risqué and then there is something to say about art. And those are the types of pieces that I try to put up, the ones that have more artistic merit,” said Fernandez.

The C-wing isn’t the only place to find photos and students’ work displayed although it is one of the more meaningful places in the school.

“It’s in a section where the students are actually capturing the images,” said Fernandez. “It speaks to the good work that the students do.”

There is also a gallery on the third floor of Durham College. It changes more frequently and displays more recent photos.

There is also TVs set up on both the upstairs and downstairs floors of L-wing. These displays showcase photography, fine art, journalism, animation, and video game design.

“We try to show on those monitors a variety of our programs,” said Fernandez.

The college has many places for students’ work but Fernandez wouldn’t object to more space.

“I wouldn’t mind in the future expanding it, if there are more opportunities in other areas. It makes for a better environment. “

The photos also get displayed at the Exposure Show every year in May. Canada’s largest expo for photography and video. The school goes to the show and recruits and shows off the students’ work. This can result in future employers seeing the work as well as industry professionals seeing the quality of photos that comeout of Durham College.

Having their photos up on the wall isn’t just to get future employers’ attention.

“It’s sort of like a bragging right,” said Fernandez. “That’s ultimately what photography is, you want to convey what it is you were thinking [at the] time [and] of what image you ultimately wanted to capture and portray.”




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