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The life and energy of global experience, captured through the lens

Gwen Kidera

Photographs by 18 Northeastern University students who studied abroad last fall are on display at Gallery 360, offering glimpses of life from around the world.

Each photo —a landscape, portrait or action shot — reveals a moment that represented the student’s global experience in its essence.

Michael Rizzo, who studied in Cape Town, South Africa, submitted a photo of a tightrope walker in a beachside shopping district.

“This tightrope walker was attracting a large crowd just as the sun was setting, silhouetting the spectators and tightrope walker himself,” Rizzo said. “This moment is very reflective of the sense of life and energy that exists on the street in Cape Town, something I haven’t experienced anywhere else.”

Daniel Robinson, who studied in Japan and submitted an image of the Daibutsu (Great or Big Buddha), said looking for opportunities to shoot interesting photographs helped him find easy-to-miss intersections between a modern city and its history.

“One of the many things I was deeply touched by while living in Japan was its ability to house both vast contemporary cities and an overpowering natural beauty and history,” Robinson said. “Often while walking through a massively crowded intersection, you might spy an incredibly quiet and well-kept shrine or temple between concrete apartment buildings, or sometimes even atop a sky scraper. Within the 24/7, neon mentality of a mega-city, there was beautiful, unmatched tranquility. Upon discovering these hidden contrasts came an incredible emotional rush for me, and it was this sort of feeling I meant to capture in the picture I took of the Daibutsu.”

After shooting a photo of a cresting wave in Byron Bay, Australia, Matthew Annese couldn’t wait to spend his 21st birthday surfing.

“Needless to say we sprinted back to the hostel and grabbed our boards. The rest of the weekend was filled with amazing waves and good friends,” Annese said. “This is still one of my favorite shots. The ‘A-frame’ wave in the background, combined with the trees and mural-painted shower in the foreground come together to make a nice shot symbolizing Australia and my time abroad.

The eclectic array of photographs shows the wide assortment of experiences Northeastern students have studying outside of the United States. The show includes photographs taken by students in France, Italy, Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Spain.

Each year, the Office of International Study Programs (OISP) asks students to submit photos from their experiences abroad, many of which hang in the program’s office. This year was the first time that student work of this kind has been displayed in a University gallery.

“The photos are quite beautiful and the landscapes are quite striking,” said OISP director William T. Hyndman III, who added that many of the photos show students connecting with foreign cultures as more than  tourists.

“And that’s not easy, obviously,” Hyndman said. “It’s much easier as a student to just explore the country on it’s surface, to travel around on the weekend and put pins in a map. But our goal is for them to really engage in the culture. It’s always fascinating for me what students bring back and show us as their photos.”

The gallery show was organized by Jacqueline Ferrante, a co-op student working at Northeastern’s Curry Student Center, where she is involved in arts programming. The student photographs were displayed alongside a show called  “American Patterns” by artist Andrew Woodward.

“We thought it would be interesting to have something from abroad to go with that show,” Ferrante said.

The photographs will be on display at Gallery 360, located in Ell Hall, through Aug. 24.

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