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Student Projects Look To Change Minds

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Photo credit: Mike Moore

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Written by: Colby ShoupDecember 07, 2016

Danielle Doepke’s final project is about more than just photography, it’s about spreading awareness.

“I knew I wanted my project to be something that spoke to me personally,” Doepke said. “I hope that this project can be a stepping stone and a contribution to the effort of everyone in the mental illness community moving forward.”

Doepke is one of the senior Visual Communications and Design majors participating in Crop It Like It’s Hot, an exhibition of senior projects on display Dec. 2- Dec. 28 at Wunderkammer Company.

Doepke’s project features photographs of and interviews with 18 people who suffer from different mental illnesses. The project is called “Exposure: Exposing the Myths and Realities of Living with a Mental Illness.” Doepke chose the project because she had a personal connection to it.

“Personally, I have been living with depression and anxiety for several years now, and my story is actually included in the project so people can read about what my experience with mental illness has been and why I felt that this project was important,” Doepke said. “Photography has allowed me to connect with people and cope with my anxiety and I wanted to use it help other people as well.”

Mike Moore, who has a concentration in imaging and photography, is using his project to spread awareness about a different global issue: light pollution.

The assignment features photos of stars and the Aurora Borealis Moore took while traveling to Iceland, Alaska and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the project. The goal of the project is to show people what they’re missing out on when they surround themselves with technology, Moore said.

“I think they would be awestruck at the beauty that’s out there when they see these photos,” Moore said. “I hope people have an emotional reaction and maybe it will make people want to take the kids camping and disconnect with all this social media crap for a while. It might do humanity some good.”

Moore said the issue of light pollution has been important to him ever since he first visited a planetarium as a kid.

Gretchen PeGan, a VCD major with a concentration in graphic design, first learned about alternative medicine early in her childhood when her mother was diagnosed with a rare disease. When traditional medicine failed to cure her, PeGan’s mother turned to remedies made of plants and herbs and made a full recovery. Ever since then, PeGan said holistic medicine has been a major part of her life.

“Now whenever I get sick, I rarely have any problems after I take herbs,” PeGan said. “I’m not saying I expect people to go off their prescriptions, but I hope this project gets people to have a more open mind to this type of thing.”

Regular gallery hours for Crop It Like It’s Hot are Wednesdays through Sundays from 1 to 8 p.m. Admission is free.