Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    “Passage” MA Exhibit explores landscape, memory

    Photographs are moments of shared connection and history are frozen in place and hung up on the walls as a memory of a time long since past.

    Celestia Morgan’s exhibit, “Passage” is seeking to capture moments like these through a new presentation of photography. Morgan is a second year graduate student with an MA in Photography.

    Living in Birmingham, Morgan commutes daily to the University of Alabama for class, originally graduating from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a BFA in photograhpy. Her father was a major inspiration for her to become a photographer.

    “When I first asked myself [what inspires me], I thought about when my father passed and we were looking for photos of him, he was the person with the camera,” Morgan said. “When he finished up with the camera, he would give it to me.”

    Morgan’s exhibit is a piece of historical significance, focusing on both the life of her grandmother, of which Morgan shares her namesake, and the time her grandmother grew up in. Her grandmother passed away just a year before Morgan’s birth.

    “A lot of my work deals with my personal history,” Morgan said. “A lot of this exploration has to deal with me getting to know who this woman was, who I’m named after. If you name your child after someone, they have to be very special, so for me, it’s like a curiosity to see who she was.”

    The exhibit follows a broad stretch of history involving Morgan’s grandmother’s life from set pieces of the Civil Rights Movement to the landscapes of Birmingham as a whole. Each photograph in the exhibit is accompanied alongside a location on a full-sized map and a summary, allowing viewers to relate their own lives within the story.

    “I went to different locations where my grandmother lived,” Morgan said. “With 16 children, and trying to feed them, not only feed them but house them, I saw her travel along the city of Birmingham… As my mom went with me to photograph these areas, she’s telling me these stories.”

    Her mother’s stories dealt with what happened in each location, which sibling was born in each house and why they had to move to the next home. As well as following her grandmother’s story, Passage reaches forward to Morgan’s personal history. Chris Jordan, a graduate professor, serves as a mentor to Morgan. His class focuses on visual language, as his students use photography to express an idea. Jordan said his one hope for the class is that he could help his students find the most effective language for what they’re trying to say.

    “[Morgan’s work] is going beyond photography as separate images,” Jordan said. “It’s more of a look at our broader cultural history.”

    Passage is available now to view at the Sella-Granata Art Gallery in Woods Hall and will be on display until May 3rd. A reception for Morgan will be held on Thursday from 5-7pm.

    Editors Note

    Corrections were made to the original version of the article. Celestia Morgan is a MA student, not an MFA student as originally stated. She graduated from UAB with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography, not a degree in elementary education. The title of the article was also changed from “‘Passage’ MFA Exhibit follows the story of a civil rights activist” to “‘Passage MFA’ Exhibit explores landscape, memory” to better reflect the topic of the exhibit. The Crimson White regrets the error.

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