Moments captured by phone

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First Posted: 8/12/2013

Holding your child for the first time, snuggling up to a new puppy, a gorgeous lakeside landscape in the middle of a hot summer afternoon: these are some of life’s most precious moments, and they’re all in the palm of your hand – literally.

With phone technology advancing at a rapid pace, it’s no wonder the tiny machines have become a primary way to take photographs, and with phone applications like Instagram, it’s even easier to share these moments with the world.

The Schulman Gallery at Luzerne County Community College has given people an opportunity to do just that, and on a scale much larger than a small phone screen. The “Phone-tography” exhibit, opening this weekend, solely features art captured via cell phone.

“Knowing that technology is such a big part of everyday life, everyone walks around with a cell phone with a camera, literally capturing images of their life every day. We thought it’d be neat to tie art and technology in with something people do on a daily basis,” said Tom McHugh, chairperson of the Communication Arts Department at LCCC.

The idea for the exhibit also stemmed from a need to get the community involved.

“The gallery is eight years old now, and it seems like, since doing shows, it’s been all about the artists, not so much the community,” McHugh said. “We wanted to come up with a way to not only promote the biggest program in our department, but also bring people in to the gallery and get them involved.”

The call went out for people to submit up to three cell phone photographs online. Of the 85 individuals who sent work in, the “best of the best” were picked, according to McHugh, and those will be on display in large prints in the gallery. Each photo will be hanging from a string, so viewers feel as though they’re glancing into a darkroom.

The printed photographs will be juried and ribbons will be awarded for outstanding photographs.

There’s also an “Honorable Mentions” section of prints up as well as a way for every single photograph submitted to be seen.

Jeff D’Angelo, an artist from Scranton who does 3-dimensional works, has built a gigantic iPhone with a hand holding it that will sit in the center of the gallery.

“It’s actually a TV,” McHugh said, “so all of the photos that were not printed will be playing on it in a continuous loop.”

Though the show has yet to open, McHugh is confident this will be an annual thing, seeing as how popular picture-taking by cell phone is and will remain. He calls those who snap with the tiny gadgets photographers, just like any other.

“The quality of cell phone cameras has come so far, and anybody who takes a shot with one is literally capturing a moment in time, which is what photographers do, whether it be a photojournalist, a portrait photographer doing a wedding, an artist in the studio designing something, or someone on the beach taking a picture on vacation. It’s a way of being able to express creativity.”