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Rosenberg Gallery: Stan Wan “Fashion and Portraits - Europe” (1980-1990)

By Nandee MignonSPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis past Wednesday, Sept. 10, the Rosenberg Gallery was transformed into a place of spectacle­— a thriving, creative thought process of black and white photography. “Fashion and Portraits - Europe” (1980-1990), by Stan Wan, opened at the gallery, showcasing over 10 of his personal and industry work photos.

From fire breathers, to a woman contemplating while smoking a cigarette, there were numerous photographs displaying an array of ideas, people and events. Even at the slightest glance, you couldn’t help but to be sucked into the story behind the photo.

There were many people there, ready to hear about the stories that lived behind the camera lens.

In reference to one of his shooting experiences, Wan said, “I started thinking about all those Audrey Hepburn movies…”

I thought to myself, how can a person love photography so much? After all, it’s just pointing and shooting a camera. But after looking at these subjects, I had a total change of heart.

When it came to the photographs of people, there were various things that stood out to me, one of them being how up close and personal the photo seemed to be.

There was a picture of a woman, in full, semi-professional clothing, in some kind of dance stride. Her leg was propelled in front of her, and her smile was larger than life itself. Seeing pictures like that opened the floodgates of my mind.  What was she saying? What made her smile so hard? Was she caught mid-stride or did he ask her to pose? The fact that he was able to capture what seemed to be such a genuine moment was amazing.

Another thing that came to mind was how each photo told its own individual story.

“Fire Breather,” in particular, stood out among the rest. The photo, of a man spitting out gasoline, gave off the illusion that he was exhaling fire. It was taken at such an angle, that by standing right in front of it, it made the spectator feel as though they were present during the actual performance. Feeling that sense of being submerged in the act made this picture one of my personal favorites.

Towards the end of the gallery opening, Wan said, “It was a great journey”.

The experience he had behind each photograph was what I personally think makes him such a great photographer. Wan has an eye that is able to navigate through the crowd, pick out what is wanted, and in the process, capture a great moment.

“Fashion and Portraits - Europe (1980-1990),” will be on display until Oct. 6, 2014. The Rosenberg Gallery is located on the first floor of Calkins Hall.

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