Eyes on LaFollette

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Photo by Andy Ashby, 1997

An exhibition of photographs taken by University of Tennessee photojournalism students over the past 21 years opens at the State Museum on October 3. The exhibit entitled, Eyes on LaFollette: UT Student Photojournalism Project Marks 20 Years, has been organized by Robert Heller, professor, University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media, in partnership with the museum.

The exhibit contains 202 photographs taken by 102 photographers. For 21 years Heller has brought his advanced photojournalism students from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to photograph life in the East Tennessee town of LaFollette (population around 7,300). Through the lenses of student cameras, they capture a glimpse of the community’s endearing character. Each year, the local weekly newspaper, LaFollette Press, publishes a special edition of these photographs entitled “Eyes on LaFollette.” Edited down from tens of thousands of photos, both film and digital, the exhibit serves as a visual history of this community during that time period.

“From 1993 to now, my advanced photojournalism students and I have traveled the interstate north from Knoxville about an hour and spent a day and a half documenting life in the small town of LaFollette,” stated Heller. “The local weekly newspaper very generously offers up room to publish a special edition of these photographs. There are no big stories, no important events — just life as it is lived everyday.”

Eyes on LaFollette: UT Student Photojournalism Project Marks 20 Years is free to the public and will be on view through November 30, 2014.

In addition to te LaFollette images, the museum is exhibiting a selection of photos by other photographers taken around the state, including this photo of mine.

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