Conference to focus on photos, videos

Robyn McNeil, Editor-in-Chief

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In a time when publishing photographs and video can be achieved instantly by anyone with a cell phone and Internet access, the Francis Marion University (FMU) departments of fine arts and mass communication will take the community back to a “golden age” of professionalism in photography and videography.

      March 6-8, the university will host Poskito: South Carolina Photography and Video Conference; the event is the first of its kind to be sponsored by FMU.

      Howard Frye, associate professor of art education and coordinator of the Art Education Program, made the proposal to develop the conference in October 2012.

      “I approached [FMU President Fred Carter, PhD.,]about an idea to do a photography conference,” Frye said.  “I picked that for a few reasons, but one of the major reasons was that photography is pervasive in our culture.”

      Frye explained that this makes the community both consumers and producers of photography. 

      “It [photography] seems to be of all the visual art forms, the one that reaches everyone,” he said.

      The departments’ aim with Poskito was to examine a topic from various perspectives by inviting 18 professionals and scholars of different fields and ideologies to discuss their ideas on a chosen topic: visual narrative, or “storytelling through pictures.”          

      March 6 and March 7, the presenters will share their perspectives as well as their projects on visual narrative during three daily sessions.

      On March 8, a Downtown Florence Art Walk will be held from 11 a.m.to 4 p.m.

      The art walk activities will include public workshops and demonstrations, photography exhibitions and projections, video screenings and live jazz music at several venues.

      March 8 will also mark the conclusion of the conference with talks by photographers Nina Berman and Steve Schapiro in the Lowrimore Auditorium of the Cauthen Educational Media Center (CEMC) and a panel discussion on photography’s role in documenting the Civil Rights Movement.

      In conjunction with Poskito, the Hyman Fine Arts Center (FAC) will host an exhibition, “Visual Narratives,” from March 1-14 and an exhibition of vintage cameras from the “Golden Age of Photojournalism.”

      According to Frye, the Golden Age of Photojournalism ranged roughly from 1925 to the early 1960s, and it was during this period that photojournalism reached its prime.

      The Department of Mass Communication and the Department of Fine Arts were once one department, and Frye explained that the conference was a way to “kind of reunite them.”

      Tim Hanson and Maria Lundberg are the representatives from the Department of Mass Communication; they requested that the conference also illustrate the societal impact of videography.

      Frye said the ability of photography to communicate certain messages or ideas comes from an image’s capability to “sear in your mind.”

      “The old saying is, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,” he said.  “A truly iconic photo is so powerful.  It stays with you.  It’s something that you don’t forget.”

      All events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, all talks and panel discussions will be held in the Lowrimore Auditorium.

      Poskito was financed by grants from The Humanities Council of South Carolina and the FMU Ready to Experience Applied Learning (REAL)Program.  The Department of Fine Arts and FMU’s Artist Lecture Series provided additional support.

            For more information about Poskito, visit poskito.com or contact Frye at 661-1680 or hfrye@fmarion.edu.

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