Science - March 9, 2006

New student photo club has first show

Buildings in Beirut, Chinese girls in Rome and a humming bird in Costa Rica. The photos on the walls of the Mouterij in the Churchillweg represent many places in the world, as do the photographers. A small group of international students from all over the world recently started a photography club, Exosphere. Last week eight active members set up its first exhibition.

The club is named after the highest layer in the atmosphere: exosphere. ‘The first layer that receives sunlight,’ tells Hussam Hawwa from Lebanon, who is the coordinator of the photo club. The MSc MAKS student started Exosphere together with friends he met in Wageningen. ‘I think it is important to have a cultural club in Wageningen, because there are so many cultures and identities.’

So far the club has had little support from the University. ‘My personal impression is that most of the cultural integration that Wageningen seems to be promoting outside the academic domain relies mainly on drinking parties and dinner gatherings. What is a better manifestation of cultural integration than shared experiences and interactive perspectives in art?’

The students set up the exhibition to draw more attention to their existence and attract financial support. Hussam’s favourite photo is one he took of a horse, looking stoically into the lens. ‘It gives an impression of the human confinement of nature. To me it says loneliness and mystery. But it also represents my love, who is at home in Lebanon. They are the eyes of one longing for the other.’

In addition to Hussam’s pictures, seven other photographers have their best pictures hanging on the wall. Black and white or full colour, digital or analogue: it doesn’t matter. Photo club Exosphere is also about sharing knowledge and experience of photography. ‘We have lectures and excursions. It is about collective learning,’ adds Hussam. You don’t have to be an experienced photographer.

The exhibition attracted many visitors last week and new members have registered. The exhibition continues until 12 March, but no longer in the Mouterij. The pictures are now hanging on the walls of WSO Arion building. You can visit every day between 14.00 and 18.00 / LH