Mandy Smith captures a surreal view in her photo experimentation

Senior Mandy Smith, a biology and art double major, is one of only two photo majors graduating this year.

“We’re the guinea pigs for the department,” she said.

“Photography has been a hobby of mine ever since I could hold a camera,” said Smith, whose grandfather showed her how to first use a camera with a point and shoot.

Some of Smith’s more stunning works on display are the photos in the Holga set. Smith described the Holga camera as a cheap $30 camera that uses square 120 mm film.

“It’s a bare bones sort of camera, there’s little you can control. Mine has a flash, most don’t,” said Smith. Additionally Holga users must deal with the parallax error, meaning “You don’t get what you see,” said Smith. The viewfinder doesn’t capture what will be in the photo.

With the Holga set Smith would find someone and “take their picture without them noticing. When I saw a moment I like I released the shutter,” she said.

She has had mixed reaction to her project. With these portraits Smith was trying “to just capture something more genuine about the person, capturing something a little more unique. I want to capture something they would not put forward in a picture,” said Smith.

The subjects within the portraits are hallowed by a shadow. These dark spaces, called vignettes occur when that part of the film is so exposed that the film turns black. For the Holga camera it came with developing a square portrait with a circular lens. Smith said that some peers had found that the “black space makes it feel like they’re being wiped out, like a fade out scene in a show.”

The dark space “added more to it than I expected,” said Smith.

Smith also displays environmental photos, taken from inside a barbershop on Cherry St., as well as multiple exposure shots taken inside an empty church.

Smith plans to go into embryology, where she sees her photography skills coming in handy. “A lot of scientific equipment requires working knowledge of a camera,” said Smith.

Klayr Valentine-Fossum


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