Middlebury woman shares photos from Italy

ITHACA, N.Y. — Sophia Abdul Sater, an integrated marketing communications major in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, presented her work of the summer semester course — a series of photographs depicting her experience studying abroad in Italy — to faculty, staff and classmates mingling at the Umbra Art Show. Abdul Sater is a 2014 graduate of Middlebury Union High School.
“I like photographing nature and landscapes, so I chose flowers as a theme,” Abdul Sater said, explaining that the flowers can be interpreted as a simple yet adequate metaphor for the metamorphosis any study abroad student goes through.
Designed for all levels, Umbra’s Digital Photography course introduces students to the fundamentals of photography by exploring basic concepts, processes and techniques. The Umbra Institute offers the key to opening one’s eyes and gaining perspective through its course on digital photography taught in Perugia, a small medieval city in central Italy.
“The focus of this course was to capture and record your experience in Italy using your camera and create a portfolio of these images,” explained instructor Philippa Stannard. “Creative exploration through specific assignments helps students form the basis for development of aesthetic criteria.
“Students’ confidence grows as we learn about their cameras and different techniques to make their photographs more interesting. By the end of the semester, they are truly blooming and having fun, taking beautiful engaging photographs, editing them on the computer effectively, and printing enlargements.”
“It is very satisfying and fulfilling for students to see their photographs hang on the wall,” said instructor Philippa Stannard, a celebrated local photographer who recently won the seventh Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers. “Surrounded by the support of the Umbra community, it gives them a real sense of joy and pride.”
Not only do the photography students learn the technical aspects, but, as Abdul Sater realized, they also reflect on their work and that of their classmates. “I discovered that there is so much more behind a photograph, and I learned to look at the world through different eyes.”

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