YSDN10 Gradshow Photos

We had the opportunity to photograph the graduating students of the York / Sheridan Joint Program in Design (YSDN) for the 10th annual Graduate Exhibition, which is entirely financed, designed, and produced by the graduating class. 2010 marked the departure from the traditional ‘booth’ approach where graduates were responsible for their own space (a booth) during the show. The show became category based (3D, Systems, Book, Editorial, Screen) with different students’ work intermingled throughout the show. This new approach was meant to focus more on the work created by the graduating class as a whole, rather than on any one particular student’s work. This more unified approach was present from the initial conceptual ideas of the show right down to the physical display of the work. We wanted the photographs to represent the change as well.

Why It Works

We proposed the idea that the student portraits be taken in groups in order to visually translate the unified approach to the YSDN10 grad show. Shooting in a small group setting had many advantages – one being that the edge was taken off of the main subject, as it can be intimidating to be photographed in a crowded studio setting. What we ended up with were genuine smiles and laughter. The photos became candid instead of staged, even though setting up the group photos involved tangling up the arms of people, who in some cases barely knew each other, in a cramped studio setting.

Timeslots were open for registration online, but the names and time were hidden in order to help reduce clique group photos, ensure everyone had someone to photograph with, and to encourage students to meet and become familiar with other students that they didn't know as well. It was a real bonding experience. We all had a lot of fun.

Other Notes

Photographer: Jared Polowick
Art Director: Shane Duquette
Lighting: Payam Rajabi

The camera setup was synced to a laptop that the subject could see from where they were standing which allowed them to review the photograph on a large screen instantly to ensure they were happy with their photograph. Syncing the camera also reduced the time to switch and download memory cards to keep on schedule as we photographed over one hundred students in a two day span.