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Student Exhibition to Feature Fashion Photography, Representations of Suburbia

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Photo of Leonid Gurevich show by Jillian O'Brien

Fashion photography by Jillian O’Brien, a senior pursuing a B.F.A. in photography, will be on display in the Borland Gallery on the Penn State University Park campus, November 12-21. The exhibition, Couture Deconstruction, will feature photos from fall 2012 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, as well as images shot in American suburbia. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. An opening reception will be held Monday, Nov. 12, at 5:30 p.m.

According to O’Brien, who says she has always been fascinated by fashion and style, the photos shot in the suburbs “become displays of deconstructed reality, inspired by the clothes seen on the runway.” For example, the image below shows a portion of an old dunk tank behind O’Brien’s high school in Oakland, N.J. “The detail in the orange band and the glitter shellac, as well as the contrast of the two bright complimentary colors, are what drew me to create this piece to pair with a runway shot from the Jill Stuart show. I find it a perfect example of my intention to crop out reality to allow the eye to detect beauty in the objects that lie in the world around us.”

Photo by Jillian O'Brien

O’Brien was the house photographer for designer Leonid Gurevich’s runway show during Fashion Week, her first experience in that role. “It was an overwhelming few minutes of purely beautiful fashion. The color, geometry and immense amount of detail in this particular dress [on left] are what inspired the concept of this show.”

A native of northern New Jersey, O’Brien says her family always exposed her to diverse experiences, and today she strives to live as a well-rounded person. “Glitz and glamorous experiences are as equally enjoyable as those that are down and dirty and a little less polished,” explains O’Brien, who spent a lot of time in New York City as a child. “This show is meant to put that particular view of mine into visual representation through the comparison of high fashion and objects existing in my immediate surroundings.”

O’Brien says this exhibition is merging her two dreams: to attend a fashion show in the tents, and to become an artist. “At this particular point in my life, I am more than pleased to see the two merge in this context, and am extremely excited to show images representing the two in a way that reflects my life’s attitude, views, and experiences in such a personal way.”