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BCA News: Fall 2016

Blending science, art and culture through photography

by Dannielle Edwards, BAppSc Hons, BA, RBI, FAIMBI, FIPT, FBCA

This past May, Jim Wetzel, PhD, visited Australia along with 18 students from Presbyterian College, South Carolina, USA, to experience the culture and environmental diversity of Tasmania and southern Victoria. Their journey began in Melbourne where they were hosted by Gale Spring, FBPA, RMIT University, School of Science.

While in Melbourne, Jim was invited to give a special presentation to the Institute of Photographic Technology, Inc. on his philosophy of blending the art and science of photography through his assignments for students in the environmental photography course at Presbyterian College. He illustrated this by showing examples of the students' work. The students were given themes and used photography to reflect these themes within the environment thus giving them a visual awareness of the environment and its fragility. Of particular interest was the work where he had taken students to the same location to demonstrate how their photographic perspectives and perceptions differed because of their cultural backgrounds and life experiences. It was a very stimulating evening and well received by all IPT participants and guests.

While Jim was in Melbourne it was a great opportunity for three BCA members to get together (albeit in the company of 18 students). Gale Spring and Danielle Edwards both became tour guides for the group taking them to Healesville sanctuary for Australian native animals and Toolangi state forest where they experienced cool temperate rainforest including ancient plants of Gondwana. The day was concluded in the Yarra Valley wine region at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Although it was a cool winter day, no one seemed to mind as they enjoyed chocolate and ice cream while watching the sunset over the valley.

Gale continued touring with the group in Tasmania where they experienced the unique culture, local foods, flora and fauna. Jim presented their experiences and photographic work done in this region at BIOCOMM 2016 in New Orleans.

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