Student published on Chicago website

January 21, 2011

by Amber Guyotte, COPY EDITOR

Out of hundreds of photographs submitted, one Tech student’s passion was able to shine through all the prints.

Mandi Zimmer, a senior photography major from Baton Rouge, submitted eight pictures to F-Stop Magazine, an online photography publication based in Chicago that features contemporary photography by established and emerging photographers from around the world. Three photographs were chosen from her submission titled “Men of Honor,” which features war veterans out of uniform.

According to Christy Karpinski, editor of F-Stop Magazine, each issue has a theme or an idea that unites the photographs to create a dynamic dialogue among the artists. Zimmer’s work, among many others’, was published in the December 2010/January 2011 issue in a community-themed group exhibit.

Zimmer said this was her first time to be nationally recognized for her photography skills, even though she has been published in Baton Rouge area newspapers. She said her submissions came from her senior exhibition called “Men and Women of Honor” that she has been working on this school year.

“I have been shooting environmental portraits of men and women who have served in our military,” Zimmer said. “When I saw that the topic of the open call was community, I couldn’t help but think that our service men and women are a vital part of any community.”

She added that her inspiration for this theme came from her neighbor, a World War II veteran, who told her numerous accounts of his war experiences.

“I found his stories intriguing and decided that I wanted to give honor to the men and women who have fought for our freedom,” she said. “I decided that I could do that by shooting a series of environmental portraits and use them for my senior exhibition.”

Zimmer has her own photography business in addition to being a student in the School of Art, which re-enforces her passion for still art.

“What I enjoy most about photography is that it gives me the ability to tell stories without words,” she said. “It also allows me to demonstrate my creative side by manipulating light. I really enjoy photographing people and very seldom do abstract or still-life photography.”

Jay Gould, an assistant professor of photography, said Zimmer portrayed the veterans in a way separate from their military pasts.

“She’s showing them in a totally different context not relying on placing them in their uniforms or doing anything really even related to military, but really looking into their lives and another aspect of them,” Gould said. “She takes a strong consideration of lighting, of composition, and shows the character not just through the people themselves but through the environment. She’s very conscious to make sure that the environment tells a story that supports that person as well.”

He said the School of Art takes pride in its students for putting an effort into letting their work be known and gaining public recognition. 

“We’re also really proud of the confidence it brings to the students who start to think more of their work as work that they can send out into the world rather than being work that’s just assignments,” Gould said. “That kind of affirmation builds up a lot of confidence, which is something we know students need. Other students see that there is a chance for being recognized, a chance for selling work, a chance for exhibition and that it’s not unrealistic that their peers are already doing it.”

E-mail comments to ang017@latech.edu.