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GODFREY/ALTON - Lewis and Clark Community College photography students are showing off what they’ve learned through a new exhibit at Jacoby Arts Center.

Titled “MILF: Man I Love Film,” the exhibit explores different subcultures and photography techniques. Ten students’ and Professor Sage Mend’s photos are included in the exhibit, which will be at Jacoby Arts Center through the month of May.

“‘MILF: Man I Love Film’ is a show that was really put together for the students, by the students,” Mend said. “They are having to understand a lot in order to produce these prints, so I’m really proud of them, especially for making so much. They’re having to understand darkroom chemistry, some chemicals, light, all different kinds of things to produce their work.”

Mend explained that many of the students chose to explore different subcultures, from new-age emo to the furry fandom. She believes that film lends itself to exploring these ideas because the medium “goes against the grain of what’s popular.”

James, a student, noted that the film class allowed him to combat some of the “negative connotations” associated with the furry fandom. Film became a way for him to express himself and share different aspects of his personality.

“One thing that's kind of interesting, especially with the furry fandom, a lot of people have negative connotations with it. I personally am a furry myself and there’s a lot of people that have misunderstandings about it,” he said. “This is a cool way to try and get some of those niche subcultures out into the public so people can start learning about it.”

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Haley, who is interested in new-age emo, used photography techniques like double exposure to create prints with multiple images. While she originally thought this was a digital photography class, she was pleasantly surprised by the different techniques she learned and her new love of film.

“I had a lot of fun this semester,” she said. “I really enjoyed it. I used my best friend Georgie a lot as my subject to kind of make my ideas come to life, and I think he captured it very well. I also experimented with some landscapes around here especially to kind of get that feel of Alton and downtown.”

Judah took an experimental approach, with a lot of religious undertones and a focus on what people experience when they view his prints. Lindsey was interested in texture, and she is especially proud of a photo of noodles and a picture of Lambert’s Cafe.

All of the students expressed their newfound appreciation for film as a medium. They noted that there’s something special about film photography versus digital photography, and they look forward to completing more film projects in the future.

"Can you create an image completely digital and make it look like film? Yes, you can. The amount of advancements we’ve gone with like Adobe Photoshop, you can make anything look like anything. But that’s not always the point,” James explained. “It’s about the feeling. It’s about that emotion. And sometimes it’s about the work. You can feel the artwork and how much effort they put into it. It just feels a little bit better.”

There are over 150 pieces of art in the Jacoby Arts Center show. You can stop by Jacoby Arts Center any time throughout the month of May to view the students’ photography. Mend said that she is extremely proud of her students and the work they put into the class, and she hopes they continue to grow as artists.

“The students have all been wonderful, especially because they made really, really good print work,” Mend added. “If you come to the show, expect to see a very wide range of material.”

For more information about the “MILF: Man I Love Film” exhibit, read this article at RiverBender.com.

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