Finding the right exposure
Photo club travels around city looking for the best images
A young woman sits on a couch-shaped gravestone on a cold winter day. The background is gray and grim. The trees are bare and her rigidly poised body stands out against the graveyard in which she sits. Her face is completely hidden by a head full of long curls.
This photo, taken by sophomore business major Khashayar Karami in Forest Lawn Cemetery on Delaware Avenue, is just one of many taken by members of UB Exposure.
Last semester, Tejas Bangre,a graduate student studying industrial and systems engineering, and a group of five undergraduate students created UB Exposure - a photo club for people interested in photography. Bangre originally considered starting the club through the Graduate Student Association but found much more interest among UB's undergraduate community.
The club has a big project ready to launch as soon as its Student Association club registration is fully processed. Humans of UB will consist of members taking portraits of different students and faculty members on campus. After getting the subjects' contact information, each photo will be posted on the UB Exposure Facebook page with quotes about the subject.
Ariel Namoca, a sophomore communication major and the club's vice president, proposed the idea. Humans of UB will be UB Exposure's way of promoting the club on campus while showing UB students the diversity present on campus.
The club has two main goals: to guide and help students who already have experience with a camera and to teach and inspire students who have an interest in the field but no experience. By helping new members hone their skills, the executive board officers also learn how to improve their own techniques, according to Bangre.
"The best [way] to learn anything is to teach it, so those who already have the knowledge also gain some more experience by teaching those who don't," Bangre said.
"Photo walks," or small trips the club takes around Buffalo, are scheduled at least once a month, according to Bangre. Members will explore a section of the city, like Downtown Buffalo, for about three hours. They take photos and enjoy the atmosphere.
An ideal place to take photos in the city is a wide, well-lit area with an abundance of structures and buildings said Karami, president of UB Exposure.
The location and the success of the walks are heavily dependent on the weather, Karami said. Light is an important factor in a photo and because winter months in Buffalo are generally dim, the group must wait to shoot on days with a decent amount of sunshine.
After taking photos, students post them to the UB Exposure Facebook page and get critiqued by other members. Occasional photo competitions will be held amongst the group and photos will be printed out as large works of art to be displayed around campus.
The constant sharing of photos and critiquing help members become better photographers, Namoca said. As a photographer for SA, Namoca's main focus is in event photography. He is not yet a professional photographer and sees the quality of his work improving every day.
"As a photographer, you are always in your learning phase," Namoca said. "You are always getting better, always learning new techniques and always trying new things out. You just get a lot better as you go."
In addition to needing no prior experience, there are no fees required to join, transportation is provided for walks and members can photograph with anything - from a disposable camera to a Nikon Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera. If they're a little hesitant to jump in right away, participants can come along and just watch and learn some basic techniques, according to Karami.
"The rule of photography is whoever has a camera is a photographer," Karami said. "That's why it is so easy for people to join [UB Exposure]. Almost everyone has a phone these days and they can just take their phone, look through their phone, find a proper angle, proper lighting and find a good subject and just take a photo."
Karami plans to pursue photography in the future, but for now he wants to focus on capturing moments in the present. He hopes members will find similar inspiration through their photography.
"I want to capture every single moment that I want to remember in 20 or 30 years," Karami said. "I want to create some surreal pictures that bring emotion to the art and, maybe in the future my work will be enough that I can share it."
Students are encouraged to join whether they have experience with photography or not, Karami said.