This is the third installment of five features to spotlight UConn School of Fine Arts’ students participating in the 2017 BFA Art Show.
Evelyn Fenick was given her first camera when she was 6 years old by her mother who owned a DSLR she admired.
“I would sneak downstairs and take her camera out of the closet, and take pictures of my family and friends,” Fenick said.
Fenick is a senior in the fine arts school concentrating in photography, and minoring in digital art and urban and community studies.
She continued to be involved with the art throughout her schooling, but it was not until high school where she began to take it more seriously. Fenick enrolled in an advanced placement photography course and was part of the school’s yearbook staff.
“[From that] I found I like doing a more photojournalistic approach to things,” Fenick said.
Her interest in this type of photography also stems from her passion for traveling.
“I love how different cultures and societies can interact, and how over time, it changes,” she said.
When Fenick was 18, she boarded a plan for the first time alone to Oaxaca, Mexico for a volunteer trip.
“It was really life changing just seeing the conditions,” Fenick said.
Coming from Brookfield, Connecticut, she had never been face-to-face with poverty. After seeing it, her outlook on life and what to be thankful for completely changed.
“I just wanted to bring it back and show this is very important and we shouldn’t take things for granted, and mull over something that’s so small when there’s larger problems in the world,” Fenick said.
Her senior project, however, goes in a very different direction, focusing more on her artistic side.
“I was trying to push myself as an artist just to figure out what else I can make,” said Fenick.
With photojournalism, Fenick said there’s only one opportunity to get the photo and then it’s gone. By taking an artistic approach to her project, she was able to redo a photo shoot however many times she needed to if it didn’t come out the way she had wanted it to.
Her project is a combination of trying to find her identity as an artist, as well as addressing how human beings are connected to their surroundings.
To address this topic, she uses a female approach specifically how she sees herself and the world around her.
Fenick uses a culmination of photographs taken of her, and her roommate in a bathtub filled with milk and dried flowers. Each photo highlights a specific body part or hair to present “different metaphors of what life is and how we impact the world.” For example, the use of milk is to represent fertility.
“It goes back to how we all started… and hair is a connection to the body and mind,” Fenick said.
As with any long-term project, there were a couple of things Fenick learned along the way that she would go back and change if possible. The first being to not let stress prevent you from moving forward, and the second having to do with receiving criticism.
“Use constructive criticism to your advantage,” Fenick said.
Whether the criticism is positive or negative, she stressed asking more questions during critiques could have been more helpful.
Looking outward, Fenick aspires to be a photojournalist after graduation, and one day dreams of working for National Geographic.
“I think it’s very interesting how artwork can say a lot about our society, and what we do and what we make of it,” said Fenick. “I think photos can say a lot just to present it, and get a whole different grasp of anything like news, a place or a concept.”
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Show will be held on Thursday, April 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the ArtSpace Gallery located on 480 Main Street in Willimantic, Connecticut. Admission is free.