Annual gallery features “Timeless” moments

The eighth annual Travel Café debuted in January without caffeine to be seen. Still, there were plenty of stimulants on hand for photography enthusiasts and others wandering the gallery, including five-award winning snapshots now on display in the Firstenburg Student Commons through February. Travel Café features photos that students and other community members have captured during their travels. The event gave people a taste of everything from baby elephants to shooting stars and somber portraits.

Co-hosted by Salmon Creek Journal and the Office of Student Involvement, the theme for this year was “Timeless,” chosen by Victoria Moon, the marketing intern for OSI.

Several dozen students, faculty, and staff came out to vote on their favorite photos and enjoy a light lunch on Jan. 25. A few of the featured artists mingled with guests to reflect on their work and check out the competition. Others wandered down the rows of frames like museum goers, trying to decipher each image’s intentions and techniques.

Photo credit: Zeke Estes

“It’s great to see how diverse students are at WSUV and see how far they’ve actually reached out and have gone in this world,” said photographer Polina Sklyarova, marveling at a third-place photo capturing a family of elephants on the move.

The featured artwork encompassed various locations, some far overseas and others quite local. “When Time Was Frozen,” by the VanCougar’s own Haley Elmer, for instance, was shot at Larch Mountain. Conversations among attendees focused on the great abundance of hidden beauty existing so close to home.

“I’m loving how much nature there is. I think it’s really representative of the place we live in,” said junior Tommy Culhane. “[It is great] when you go to a Travel Café and so much of it revolves around the natural world.” Organizers of this year’s gallery said the display of natural beauty showed the timeless and unchanging consistency that the natural world offers. In the hectic world of everyday lives, nature is a place of solace sought by many. It is no surprise that a majority of the photographers also drew from nature to match the “Timeless” theme.

When all the votes were in, the chosen winners were “Countless Stars With You” by Robin Nguyen, which won first place from the fine arts department and the People’s Choice award. “Abandoned” by Faun Scurlock won second place, and “Emerging Stronger” by Jennifer Ruthruff received third place. The top social media pick was “Lost In Time” by Robin Nguyen.

For those who missed the Travel Café but still wish to see the work of their fellow Cougs, Salmon Creek Journal will soon be publishing much of this year’s gallery in print and online. The journal’s 2017 issue will feature prose, poetry, visual art, digital art and feature performance art. Free copies will be available at a launch party later this spring. For more details, please visit SCJ’s website.

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