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Alumni's innovative photography featured at UNT on the Square

Out of Pocket collectiveA group of four UNT alumni organized a collective in January, with the goal to have their own photography exhibition by the summer. Now they will present and curate two concurrent exhibitions at UNT on the Square.

The OP Collective exhibition will run from June 3 to July 29 at UNT on the Square. A reception will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. June 3.

The first part of the exhibition features the work of members of the Out of Pocket collective, which consists of graduates from UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design who meet regularly to discuss and critique their photography. The other show will feature photographs and video from 25 UNT students and alumni that the collective curated.

Desiree Espada photograph“I am very excited,” said Desiree Espada, who graduated in studio art in 2001. “We’re really proud to have gone to UNT and we love UNT on the Square.” (Right, Espada captured the reflection in her uncle's pool in Puerto Rico.)

Espada, who works as an assistant art director for Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine, specializes in still lifes and portrait photography. Her artwork deals with femininity, identity and collections.

Mariah Tyler, who graduated in 2014 and works as a digital photo editor at Travel+Leisure magazine in New York City, will show street photographs taken within the last year. Mariah’s work explores social constructs through identity and various facets of American culture.

Zac Travis, a 2014 graduate, finds objects – “anything I can find around the house” – and uses computer programs to distort the original images. He calls it “digital obstruction.”

“It gives me control of the environment and shooting,” said Travis, who will attend graduate school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in the fall. “I like to manipulate them a certain way.”

Trey Wright photographTrey Wright has a similar method. Wright, who graduated in 2010 and works at a Dallas advertising agency, works conceptually with images from magazines. One such image is composed of scans from every person in the September issue of Vogue magazine.

“I tend to take images that are already out in the world and manipulate them and organize them in different imagery,” he said. (Left, Wright created an image composed of scans from every person in the September issue of Vogue magazine.)

Wright initiated the collective, which meets a couple of times a month to talk about opportunities to show their work and new projects they’re working on. Wright said he wanted to get the peer connection and feedback he got during college and that he doesn’t get now that he’s on his own.          

“It can be a lonely practice,” Wright said. “It’s great to bounce ideas and show the work and get people’s opinions.”

The organization is under the guidance of Paho Mann, associate professor of photography at UNT, and Leigh Merrill, assistant professor of photography at Texas A&M Commerce.

The group’s meetings also led them to curate a concurrent exhibition, which will feature photography and video works from about 25 UNT alumni and students who are based in Texas as well as Los Angeles and New York City.

“I was most impressed by the diversity of approaches seen in the submissions as well as the rigor and thoughtfulness of the OP Collective members in their selection,” Mann said.

- Jessica DeLeón, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

Above, from left to right, the works of alumni Zac Travis, Mariah Tyler, Desiree Espada and Trey Wright will be displayed at the OP Collective exhibition.


Posted on: Tue 31 May 2016

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