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Student Photographer Captures Stories of Faith

Student Photographer Captures Stories of Faith

Posted: September 4, 2012

When Buffalo State art education major and photographer Aleah Fierle attended a Christian-themed music summit last May thinking there would be a multimedia component, she found herself in a leadership workshop instead. That accident ended up being fortunate for Fierle, who left the workshop with the idea to create a series of photographs that capture different aspects of faith.

Called “The Testimony Project,” her stunning collection of photographs is on view through September 6 in the Czurles-Nelson Gallery in Upton Hall as part of the juried exhibit Across the Visual Arts IV.  Fierle, along with the other student artists whose work was selected for the exhibit, are recipients of the James Lombardo Sr. Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts.

Each photo in Fierle’s series features one subject, including friends she met at Buffalo State and through her church.

Her use of light, along with deep, brooding colors and artistic imagery, speak to an older, more experienced artist than the 20-year-old junior who created them. She shot the subjects in unusual places—from a sand quarry in Lockport to a waterfall in Geneseo—and spent up to 10 hours editing the photos. Resulting images include a girl emerging from a stream with deer antlers on her head (As the Deer Thirsts), a woman dancing amid pouring rain and lightning (Peace in the Storm), a man wrapped in chains standing in a field (Weight), and a joyful-looking woman holding out an overflowing cup (Take This Cup).

Alongside each of the eight photos is a corresponding Bible passage and a testimony of faith written by the photo’s subject.

Fierle, who started taking photographs as a Sweet Home High School junior and plans to pursue a career as an art teacher, did not take the photographs as part of a course but rather as an outside project.

“They really hit me on personal level more than an intellectual level,” she said.

Fierle said she wants to expand the series and has sketched out ideas for 35 additional images. Inclusion in Across the Visual Arts IV marks her first gallery exhibit.

Czurles-Nelson Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A closing reception with the artists will be held from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. September 6 in the gallery. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

 

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