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Best in show changes model standards

SU senior's unconventional models top Light Work art gallery's Transmedia Photography Annual exhibit.

Jacqui Palumbo went through plenty of ideas, some which she called “really bad,” before she finally settled on the idea she wanted to use for her final Bachelor of Fine Arts show: elder women facing life problems.

“I had this fashion inclination. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, it was just I was using younger models around my age and it was great, but it looked like ads for J Crew with suitcases,” said Palumbo, a photography senior in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. I really wanted to go for more of the narrative and more of the emotional impact.”

Photo: Jennifer McCaffrey
One of two photos in Palumbo's Best in Show work displayed in hallways of Light Work.

Her mindset change paid off. As she continues to work on her final show, Palumbo recently won best in show in a competition with 13 of her VPA classmates in the Transmedia department, and was on display at Light Work art gallery in the Transmedia Photography Annual. Palumbo’s photos are titled “The Hotel Room #1,” and “The Hotel Room #2,” and show an elderly woman in a hotel room. She will further develop the idea for her final show at the end of the semester. 

“I developed this idea of the woman who has sort of left her family, and is in this hotel room and in this state of she’s not sure where she’s going with her life,” Palumbo said. “For the exhibition I won for best in show, I’m going to be developing the lives of two women in two narratives. There is the woman who felt trapped in her family, and has left, and the woman who got a divorce about 30 years ago, and has been living on her own in New York City. (I will) not only be taking images of them, but taking images of their environment and crafting stories out of it.”

The ideas for the Light Work show and final show are crafted in the classes APH 461 and APH 462. Yasser Aggour, assistant photography professor in VPA's Transmedia department, said the goal of APH 461 and APH 462 is to have the students create their own projects and extrapolate the ideas.

He said Palumbo did a great job of pushing away from the common cliché of students to photograph their peers and photograph elder women. The woman in Palumbo’s photographs at Light Work is the house mother of sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, where Palumbo is a sister.

“She came up with the idea of photographing older women and that’s pushing the envelope in terms of the model,” Aggour said. “And then creating these cinematic scenarios where they are mostly ambiguous but ultimately clear in that these were women going through various emotional distresses and photographing them and somewhere in between the static and moving image.”

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