Terry Vitacco Photography

April 7, 2013

See Photo EX Club’s New Show – “As We See It”


“Snake” © Joanne Barsanti


I had the pleasure of attending the opening reception of the Photo X Club’s latest exhibit,”As We See It,” last Friday evening. It was wonderful to see the beautiful work on display and catch up with many students and alumni.

Congratulations to our talented photo students and alumni that participated in the show: Joanne Barsanti, Marita Blanken, Noriko Buckles, Aline Fetter, Gabriella Guganovic, Aichen Ho, Joan Kalmanek, Judy Kinal, Linda Markese, Tom Phelan, Ann Schulke, Bob Szerlong, Holly Tyson, and Tina Tyson-Dunne.

The COD Photo Ex Club is comprised of students, alumni, and local photographers. Guided by faculty advisors, club members work together on critiques, invite guest speakers, and enter the art world by exhibiting their work.

Below is a story by Krista Coltrin for the local media, reprinted with her permission.

An exhibition from the College of DuPage Photo EX Club highlights a body of artwork from 14 artists representing students, alumni and local photographers.  “As We See It,” a photography collaborative, is the fourth and final in a series of art education programs featured at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, West Chicago and will be on display from April 4 – 28, 2013.

The Photo EX Club began in 2010 as an extension of Photo Exhibition, a course taught by part-time faculty member Mary Dew at College of DuPage (C.O.D.) in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, that immersed students in the overall process of how to create an exhibition in a jam-packed summer program.  According to student and Club member Joanne Barsanti, the course built momentum within the participants.  Said Barsanti, “Students were so energized after they finished the program that they wanted to keep going and continue developing the concepts behind the coursework.”

The Photo Exhibition coursework initially involves the editing and selection of a cohesive body of work consisting of approximately 10 – 12 images for each student.  This creates the student’s portfolio which is reviewed by teachers, peers and professionals.  The individual students then select four to five of those images to be placed in an exhibit.  Simulating a “real world” art gallery experience, jurors from the photography staff then select the final images that will appear in the exhibit.  Rounding out the experience, students plan all aspects of the exhibit from developing titles and producing promotional materials to pricing, hanging the artwork and planning the reception.

Barsanti explained how the Photo Exhibition coursework broadened the conceptual process behind her own portfolio of work and explained that she was already planning to take the course a second time, prior to completing the first course.  “Not only did I learn a lot from the first class but I gained the confidence for what to do and how to do it for the second class,” said Barsanti.

She spent the year in between the classes photographing a series of flowers against the darkness of her basement, shining mini flashlights against them to highlight unusual forms.  After unexpectedly finding a “face” in one of the images, “Orchid Woman” became the inspiration for “Flowers with Attitude,” a leave-behind book that became her calling card for her second round of the Photo Exhibition course.  It was so successful that she was invited to exhibit at other galleries as a solo artist and as part of a group.  She also plans to include several of these images in the Gallery 200 exhibit.

Aline Fetter is a new member of the Photo EX Club, a student in the photography program and works part-time in the photo lab at C.O.D. after a 20 year career in advertising as an account executive.  She chose to attend C.O.D based on the quality of the comprehensive photography program and the convenient location.  When asked about her participation in the Club, she responded, “I like the idea of the additional support group with my peers.”  She also noted that the Club organizes activities, such as a recent photo shoot at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, and a visit by a crime scene photographer as a guest speaker.

Terry Vitacco is a Professor in the Photography Department at College of DuPage and the Faculty Advisor to the Photo X Club.  According to Vitacco, participation in the club has many benefits. “The best benefit for students is the experience of presenting their photography to the community in group shows.  They learn that it takes more than just good photos to make a gallery show come together.  The skills that the Photo X Club develops contribute to having a successful photo business in addition to a cohesive body of work that shows their point of view,” said Vitacco.

Christine Carroll of Naperville is a C.O.D. photography program alum and past president of the Photo X Club.  She currently works as a professional photographer shooting commercial images for Etsy-based stores, family and children’s portraiture and participating in group and solo exhibitions.  She credits the photography program at C.O.D. for developing her knowledge and technical skills to pursue a career as a professional photographer.  “However, it was the Photo Ex Club that created a bridge between the classroom and ‘real world.’ It allowed me to gather with other photographers, including students, commercial photographers and photography enthusiasts, which created an atmosphere of collaboration as well as providing networking opportunities,” said Carroll.

The public is invited to view the show located at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, West Chicago.

Gallery 200 has served as an incubator for creative talent for the surrounding area for the past seven years and is proud to welcome a series of exhibits in collaboration with educational art programs in 2013.  Participating in the Featured Artist Series are programs from South Elgin High School in January, Blackburn College Department of Visual Arts in February, West Chicago Elementary School District 33 in March and College of DuPage in April. This exciting collaboration will showcase the abundant creative talent that resides in West Chicago and the surrounding communities, and is evidence of the supporting role of Gallery 200 as a venue for developing, emerging and proficient artists of all media.

Gallery 200 is a cultural initiative supported by the City of West Chicago and the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, and is one more reason West Chicago was named an Illinois Arts Friendly Community in 2007. Gallery 200 is open Thursday and Friday from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. For more information, including a complete list of current art classes, call (630) 293-9550 or visit www.gallery200.org.