Exhibit opens for viewing

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008

LIVINGSTON &045; Frank Sinatra once performed a song that told of how &8220;the best is yet to come.&8221;

Ask any of the seventh through 12th grade students from various Sumter County high schools what their view is on the Black Belt, and you’ll likely get a response very similar to that of Sinatra’s.

Over the past semester, students from Livingston Junior High School, Livingston High School, Sumter County High School, North Sumter Junior High School and Sumter Academy were given a 35mm camera and two to three rolls of film.

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Their mission: Capture everyday life in the Black Belt from their perspective.

For close to two months, the students meandered through their native Sumter County and captured photographs of everything from their own school to a simple bowl of purple-hulled peas to their own family members at home.

The students’ photography exhibit opened Thursday afternoon in the Webb Hall Parlor at the University of West Alabama.

Dr. Richard Holland, UWA President, opened the reception with welcoming remarks.

And with that, the estimated 100 guests made their way through the gallery, absorbing the many perspectives of the different students.

LaGracia Gibbs, a senior at Sumter County High School in York, was one of three students submitting both written and visual works.

Offering a younger perspective, Bradley Mills Jr., an eighth grade student from Livingston Junior High School said, &8220;The project made me see how good the city [Livingston] really is.&8221;

Mills told of how after taking a simple photograph of his school, many of his friends from school kept asking him why he took it.

In talking to the students, they all had different views on the project as far as how it affected them; however, one thing remained constant: they all viewed their surroundings in a new light.

For more information on the exhibit, contact UWA at (205) 652-3400.