For Colorado Mountain College photography students, the last 16 weeks of class culminate with a one-time portfolio night next week.
Joseph Gamble, associate professor of photography at Colorado Mountain College, said this year’s Portfolio Night stands out from past events in more ways than one.
“They are allowed to explore their own creative goal and what that outcome looks like has been rich and varied. I would say there are some really innovative things about this year’s squad, ”said Gamble.
The evening serves as a culmination of a semester and an introduction to themselves and their work to community members, friends and family. Student Sarah Cherry, specializing in food photography, said the event for her means showing her loved ones what she’s been stressed about and what she’s worked so hard on over the past semester.
“It’s much more important to me to have this evening in person than to have a graduation ceremony. … In my case, I was in this class last year and when COVID hit I went ahead and gave up because it wasn’t worth it for me to do all this work and not having a place to show it. So I worked an extra year on all of this, ”Cherry said.
The event will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 6 at the Summit Student Commons on the CMC Spring Valley campus. Participation is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance so that one-hour blocks can be reserved for participants. Cody Andrews, a student who will present the work of black and white plants on the plates, said everyone needed an excuse to get out now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and the event is a great time to do so.
“It’s probably the best (gallery) in the valley that’s free, in my opinion. Not only does it show his support for college this year, but it also shows his support for young artists who have worked really, really hard on this work. And they won’t be disappointed, ”Andrews said.
Cherry’s work will be presented in the form of a cookbook accompanying the recipes she wrote herself. However, student Connor McDermott is similar to Andrews in that he presents work in large print formats which correspond to the category of fine arts.
“Basically, print as big as possible while maintaining quality. I also do sublimation, but on much smaller prints with small reflections. … For me, I think the goal of (my) series is just really big prints that you can kind of dig into as a viewer, ”McDermott said.
The event for graduates of the photography program last spring was canceled and went virtual due to COVID-19, so be able to find a way to hold this event for students safely while gathering a audience for their work is a huge achievement, says Gamble.
“We found a way to make it work and to organize this event on the same level as we always do with the other portfolio nights. And honestly, this is the first time that we have had a big event in the student center. … They are therefore equally enthusiastic about the idea of presenting this installation in addition to presenting the excellent work of the students. It’s a big sort of year-end celebration, I think, for everyone involved, ”Gamble said.
Andrews told her that portfolio night is more important than the graduation tradition and that, hopefully, the event will be the first in a series of other upcoming gallery shows for her work.
“All of my work that I do now is fine art photography. My end goal would just be to just keep doing this job well, do the other normal chores I’ve done, and try to fit things into the galleries, ”Andrews said.
Journalist Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or [email protected]