Student artwork sheds new light on NYC

Dozens of Discover New York (DNY) students currently have their artwork on display in St. Augustine Hall. The exhibit, a book show, began Oct. 1 and ends this week.

Each book is student-produced and was created in photography professor Belenna Lauto’s previous DNY classes.

The books, which are mostly photograph-oriented, focus on particular student-selected themes related to New York City.

Topics range from the faces of New Yorkers to the architecture of buildings in Manhattan. Students used Blurb, a free software available online, to design the books.

Professor Lauto said that when she began doing the project with her students, she hoped to make it into an exhibit. After the library renovations were completed, a spot opened up for the books to be displayed where the public could view them.

Lauto spoke about the way she teaches DNY.

“I’m a photographer, so I teach DNY from a photographer’s perspective,” she said. “I think it is important to look at New York from a photographer’s perspective.”

Lauto said students would have something to take away from their projects after the exhibit ends.

“After the project is done, the book becomes a keepsake,” she said.

Lauto said photography plays an important role in people’s lives.
“It is about documentation,” she said. “We photograph the major events of our lives. We like to document what we see.”

Lauto expressed her hopes that students and the University community take something away from the project.

“I hope that they remember a little bit about their topic,” Lauto said. “I hope they appreciate the topic that they document.”
One of Lauto’s students, James Kenigan, said the project challenged him in different ways.

“It pushed me out of my comfort zone. It forced me to do something I had not done before,” he said. “I like that something I created will be there for others to enjoy.”

Another student, Hemaly Valerio, said she is proud to see her project on display to the University community.

“It is nice,” she said. “Hopefully people will want to see it. As a science major, this is the first time that my work has been on display like this.”

Valerio also said this project opened her eyes to different facets of the city.

“I’m originally from New York,” she said. “After this project, I see New York in a new light. I wanted to make a book that wasn’t about the tourist part of New York. I wanted it to be about the people going to and from work. That is the real New York.”