Coordinated by the graduate photography program, the exhibition invited amateur and professional photographers at all levels from Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina to submit their work for consideration.
Overseeing the exhibition with her students, RU Assistant Professor Leah Gose said production of the show represents her hands-on "professional practices" teaching philosophy.
"I have a master list that I give to my graduate students, which focuses on what they should be accomplishing by the time they get done with their M.F.A." Gose explained. "Not only do they have to create their own work and learn how to really develop their identities as artists, but part of being an artist is entering shows and exhibiting and learning that process of how to submit work."
Gose said she wanted her photography students to step out of their comfort zones and gain experience behind the scenes while immersing themselves in the exhibition production process.
"A lot of artists don't get the other side of it, such as what it's like to actually run an exhibition or what it's like to handle the public relations," Gose said. Each of her students was given a specific role to research and perform when planning the event, such as that of exhibition or gallery coordinator, archivist or public relations director.
"It worked out perfectly so that each of the grad students has a responsibility within the full exhibition process," she said. "As a learning assignment, it's a very hands-on, practical experience."
The exhibition's guest judge is Christine Shank, assistant professor of photography at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y. Gose said Shank, like herself, is an artist and photographer who did graduate studies at Texas Woman's University and has a strong interest in exploring the narrative quality of photography.
More than 60 photographers submitted more than 160 entries for the exhibition, with the students reviewing and organizing them all. Shank then narrowed the field to the top 15 photographs for the final display.
Graduate student Karie Edwards, taking a break from setting up the exhibition, said, "It's been fantastic. We enjoy each other and work very well as a team, and we complement each other both artistically and personality-wise."
Edwards, who is hoping to hear that one of her own photographs has been accepted for the display, said she feels fortunate to have gotten a sneak peek at the entries and to have shared the interpretation of reality seen through each photographer's lens.
"It's been really exciting and interesting to see from a technical aspect how different artists do different things and how they work with their work," the Florida native said. "It exposes you to new ways of thinking as you take a trip down different avenues."
The exhibition will continue through May 31.