St. Olaf College | News

Star Tribune highlights photography class

This photo by St. Olaf student Marit Aseng ’14, which shows a Laura Baker client on a late-spring walk, is part of a photography exhibit highlighted in the Star Tribune.

“A photography exhibit opening May 9 in Northfield offers us a window into the lives of community members rarely seen with such intimacy. But the eyes opened widest were likely those of the young photographers themselves,” Star Tribune columnist Gail Rosenblum writes about 12 St. Olaf College art students who developed the exhibit as part of a class.

Each student in the intermediate photography course, led by Professor of Art Meg Ojala, spent six hours with a client of Laura Baker Services Association, an organization that provides resources to people with developmental disabilities.

The St. Olaf students took hundreds of photos of everyday moments, from one client visiting his mother to two others making lunch. They then selected the best images to display at nine locations around Northfield.

Gina Gaetz ’13 tells the Star Tribune that she initially worried about feeling a sense of separation from clients Larry and Glen as she got to know them from behind a camera lens. Instead, she wrote in her artist’s statement, “I formed unforgettable relationships with two members of my community.”

The photography class is part of the academic civic engagement program at St. Olaf, which prompts students to apply what they learn in the classroom to community-based experiences.