Students walk in front of the Fairchild Martindale Library on an overcast day. The library will be displaying the artwork of the winners from the Creatives of Lehigh photography challenge, 'For My Legacy.' (Catherine Adams/B&W Staff)

Creatives of Lehigh invites students to explore identity through photography


The Creatives of Lehigh Club is presenting “For My Legacy,” a photography challenge inviting members of the Lehigh community to submit three photos that represent their identity for a chance to be featured in the E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library (FML).

Challenge submissions are due March 7, and will be reviewed by Lehigh personnel, including Christa Neu, communications photographer, and Stacie Brennan, Lehigh University Art Galleries curator of education, to determine the top 20 submissions to be included in the display.

Jude Gerhart, ‘23, president of the Creatives of Lehigh, said the three photos students submit should represent one’s past, present and future, which can take different forms.

“The past, present, future format could be how you used to see the world, how you see the world now and how you want to see the world moving forward,” Gerhart said. “Or it could just be how you spent your time in the past, how you spend it now and how you plan to spend it moving forward.”

Gerhart said “For My Legacy” is less of a competition and more about getting people to participate and share something they are proud of.

Gerhart said the name of the challenge is supposed to encompass the legacy idea, as well as mirror the letters of FML. Members of the club met with Lehigh librarian Boaz Nadav Manes to discuss their vision for the display in FML.

Manes said he enjoys supporting clubs and organizations that come to Library Technology Services with the motivation to contribute something to the library. The libraries have displayed several similar projects.

“This ‘For My Legacy’ idea where you’re looking at your past, present and future is really connected to what libraries do,” Manes said. “You’re building a relationship with your own memories and the institution as well.”

Although the club is still figuring out the logistics of where the photos will be displayed, Gerhart said it is important to him and the library that they display the photos in a physical format as a way of preserving something that’s worth keeping.

“If something is printed, even if it’s small or if it’s not in the most glamorous place, it allows the viewer to stop and admire the work,” Gerahart said. “I feel like it’s a quality that something like Instagram doesn’t have.”

Manes said since FML is one of the most popular locations on campus, having the display in the library also offers a lot of exposure and opportunity to advertise. Neu said she is excited to see how the challenge will be curated in FML.

Neu worked on another photography project in FML for the Umoja house’s 30th anniversary in 2019, where photos of different sizes were placed strategically to replicate a family photo gallery. Gerhart came to Neu for advice on how to curate a show in the library and who could help judge the challenge.

“What I think is neat about this is that they’re opening this up to every single student at Lehigh, so the submissions can come in from anyone, whether you’re using top of the line camera equipment or your phone or whatever,” Neu said. “It gives the students a prompt to think about what’s your life like now, what comment do you want to make on your life or show about what’s important to your life.”

This challenge is unlike anything the Creatives of Lehigh Club has done before, Neu said. 

The club was formed right before everything shut down due to COVID-19 and has since hosted many workshops with different lessons about types of photography. 

Neu said with both student-run meetings and professional demonstrations, the club has always had a very strong identity and voice. 

Once the “For My Legacy” submissions are completed, the Creatives of Lehigh Club is planning to host an event with the Cheese Club in late March. Gerhart said students will be invited to the display in FML for a cheese tasting where they can vote on their favorite submissions.

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