The World Through a Lens

The World Through a Lens

Tory Glerum

While the cozy tables and comforting fare at the Barge might embody the homey, small-town feel of Hamilton, the photographs currently hanging on the walls give the familiar setting a much worldlier vibe. With senior Joseph Madres’ framed collection of black and white and colored digital images entitled, “The World, Together and Alone,” which will be displayed until October 12, viewers can travel to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia right from the solace of an armchair.

Madres, an Art major, had his self-portrait displayed in one of the Barge’s monthly art shows last year. While he was abroad, his faculty advisor secured him another spot to exhibit the many photographs he would have when he returned from his travels.

“I have been photographing for most of my life,” Madres said. “It is a big hobby of mine. I bought a brand new camera knowing I would use it.”

Madres spent last semester studying at the University of Wollongong with the Colgate Australia Study group. While there, he took a course on photography and media arts that provided him with assignments to shoot in nearby areas. The photographs from one particular shoot at an amusement park are all printed in black and white and displayed in eight by ten inch frames on the right wall of the Barge.

Madres said the theme of the shoot was low light and motion, so he took all the pictures at sunset or at night with low shutter speeds. Included are shots of a Ferris wheel, a hot food stand, and Madres’ family members looking out over the harbor during a visit. Displayed on the opposite wall in color is a large, haunting clown-head that stood at the entrance of Luna Park.

“I am fascinated with amusement parks,” Madres said. “To me they represent the dark underbelly of entertainment.”

Madres also captured many parts of Australia outside Luna Park, including boats on the harbor and the famous Opera house in Sydney, a cluster of tables in the financial district, steep canyons, and the tide effect on a beach in Darwin.

Displayed as well are pictures Madres took while visiting New Zealand over spring break. These shots include an overgrown field and broken fence, an illuminated bridge, and a floating pelican. For one particularly scenic shot, entitled “From the Bridge,” Madres had to climb down underneath the bridge onto a wooden platform suspended 100 feet in the air.

“I definitely wasn’t supposed to be there,” Madres said.

The remainder of the exhibit documents the three weeks Madres spent backpacking alone through the rainforests, beaches, and cities of Thailand and Indonesia after his semester in Australia ended.

These photographs take viewers from a twenty by thirty inch image of distant mountains, entitled “Dark Range”, to smaller photos of a monkey, a collection of bottles on a beach, the skyscrapers of Bangcock, and the barbed-wire enclosed guesthouse where Madres stayed and learned Indonesian. Madres said he was drawn to Indonesia because he loved the intensity of their art.

Madres said the scattered arrangement of the exhibit mirrors the experience he had viewing the diverse geography, beauty, and randomness of his surroundings.

“Over the semester, I saw desert, glaciers, rainforests, forests, and both urban and suburban areas,” Madres said. “The large landscapes pictures grab your attention, and the smaller images zoom in on solitary things. I liked attempting to capture of the personality and emotion of small and more banal objects.”

Madres said that while wandering, he was immediately drawn to the composition and aesthetic value of certain images, such as graffiti, an individual asleep on a ferry, baskets in a back alley, and a black cat silhouetted against a pure white wall.

“Sometimes people would wonder what I was taking a picture of,” Madres said.

Madres pointed out an image entitled “Mixed Message”, as one of his favorites. The photo displays the positioning of two signs placed next to each other on a Buddhist temple in Bangcock, one reading “Safety” and the other “Danger.”

The Barge hosted an opening for the exhibit on Saturday, September 1st, where students, professors and Hamilton residents gathered to enjoy refreshments and hear Madres speak about his travels. Since then, Madres has been contacted by several individuals interested in purchasing his work.

“We are pleased to support student artwork and display it for the Colgate and Hamilton communities,” Barge manager Judy Schenk said.

Madres said he hopes his range of photos allows viewers to be transported back with him to both the landscapes and the random objects of his travels.

“There were so many amazing experiences involved,” Madres said. “I want the exhibit to narrate the intensity of experiencing so much beauty and so much diversity by myself.”