Photographer shares work with students

by Sarah Golden

On Sept. 27, nationally recognized photographer Kay Chernush spoke to a group of Whitties about her work of the past few years.

In her 25 years of experience, Chernush has shot features for many magazines and has traveled the world taking photographs. Lately she has spent time trying to portray the very real and sensitive subject of human trafficking and child labor.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and recipient of a Fulbright grant to India, Chernush became hooked on photography during an assignment for the Peace Corps in the Sahel region of Africa. There she taught herself photography, which she describes as “a process of learning how to see.”

Chernush brought her vision to the Whitman campus as she showed her work. Her non-traditional style of photography exposes something that is often thought to portray more than a scene, but the feeling behind it.

“She was obviously incredibly creative,” said senior Carly Lane Rue, who attended a student luncheon with Chernush on Sept. 28. “She is an artist breaking down conception of what portraits should look like.”

This photo series, which Chernush took in India, Thailand, Italy and Hong Kong in 2005, was commissioned by the U.S. State Department and is used to educate people on the ramifications of human trafficking.

“Something had an idea that kept coming up,” said Rue. “She said that honesty has less to do with visual accuracy, but rather conveying as much as possible through artistic intention. Her pictures were full of multidimensional vibrance and sometimes they were even manipulations to capture something larger.”

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