Professor’s Photographs of Strength, Love, Beauty, Pain


A flyer that accompanies Madalene Spezialetti’s photo exhibit, “Strength Love Beauty Pain,” explains that the pictures are untitled. “It is up to the viewer to decide,” the handout reads. “Strength, Love, Beauty, or Pain. Or perhaps a combination.”     

The fifteen images on display in Mather Art Space through February 24 offer an interesting blend of human subjects and traditional Greek- and Roman-style statues that stand out well against one another. “It’s about trying to capture humanity, whether in live subjects or by taking pictures of statues,” explains Spezialetti, an associate professor of computer science. “Everyone has a different interpretation of what they see when they look at other people. For example, there’s a woman who is sort of fairy-tale beautiful, but she looks so sad in the picture. So, what do you see—this very beautiful woman, or a person who is very, very sad? Then there’s one of a mother and her son. The mother’s certainly not classically beautiful—she looks like a mother—but you can see her beauty just because of the way she loves her son. It comes through in the picture.” 

Spezialetti says that, while she started taking photographs in college, it’s only been in the last few years that she has begun to take artistic portraits. Still, she notes, “It really is just a hobby; it’s something I like doing. My only gear is a camera.”

Although the collection includes unmistakable elements of passion, Spezialetti says it is just a coincidence that Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of the exhibition. “It was just serendipitous that it ran at this time of year, but I’m happy that it did because part of it is very romantic. But there are contrasts. As they say, there is a fine line between love and pain, between sadness and happiness.” 

Spezialetti is on sabbatical this semester, developing strategies for using animation and video for teaching computer science. “Strength Love Beauty Pain” is her first show.      


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