Business administration senior Laine Riley is the artist currently featured at the University Union (UU) Gallery located in the UU Epicenter.

Laine Riley's photography exhibit is special to the UU Gallery because the photographs were not taken by someone primarily studying photography. Victoria Zabel – Mustang Daily

Riley’s work, a gallery exhibition entitled “Around the World,” opened at the UU Gallery on Jan. 13, and features photos she took abroad in Europe that emphasize her personal perspective. The exhibition will be displayed from January until March.

ASI Events Gallery and Outreach Supervisor Brittany Lipson said she chose Riley’s work because it stood out.

“Laine’s work is really clean,” Lipson said. “I don’t even have a favorite piece — they are all awesome.”

The UU Gallery advertises the opportunity for artists to be featured at the beginning of the year, and submissions roll in quickly after that, Lipson said. She then looks at each artist’s work, compares their vision to what she sees for the gallery and then chooses an artist three months in advance.

Lipson said one reason Riley caught her eye was because she was not primarily studying photography. She said she likes the UU Gallery to feature a “diverse body of work” and provide opportunity for other majors to participate in the shows. Individuals from every major have an equal opportunity to be chosen.

Journalism senior and fellow photography minor Krista Scarbrough said she’s a fan of Riley’s work. One of Riley’s biggest assets is her unique approach to photography, she said.

“Laine is able to capture subjects in a way that’s interesting to viewers by using framing, natural light and personal perspective,” Scarbrough said. “Laine brings life to her subjects, and her work sometimes has an almost dreamlike quality.”

Showcasing the creativity and photography skills referenced by Scarbrough was something Riley had been interested in for a while. Riley used to visit exhibits in the UU Gallery and feel jealous of the exposure such artists were getting. That friendly-envy is what pushed Riley to be proactive in the promotion of her work, she said.

“I was always curious of how the featured artists were chosen, and I always wanted to be one of them,” Riley said. “Last spring when I was in the UU I saw Brittany (Lipson) setting up an exhibit and I asked her how to get involved. She gave me her e-mail, and I sent in my portfolio in early fall.”

Riley submitted her entire portfolio, including both photos that were chosen and others. Although it was Lispon who decided on the specific photos to be used, Riley said she “wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“About a month after I sent my portfolio in, Brittany called me back and said they were going to feature my work,” Riley said. “I was so happy. She told me she wanted to use the pictures I took abroad because they were my strongest pieces. I love the way it turned out.”

Riley studied abroad in Europe during the fall 2009 quarter. Though she studied photography in high school, Riley said she never considered it a realistic potential career. However, while she was abroad, Riley rediscovered her love of photography and decided to make it one of her minors.

“Once I decided on photography as a minor I needed to start building a portfolio, and Europe was the perfect place to start shooting,” Riley said. “Some of the pictures I took I can’t believe are actually mine. Now that they are printed and blown up big, the detail and color are awesome. I’m so proud of them.”

Riley is not the only person proud of the work she has done. Dozens of her friends, classmates and peers came to the gallery opening. The support was overwhelming and people even asked if they could buy some of her pieces, Riley said.

Riley said she hopes her first showcase in the UU Gallery is not her last. She loved seeing her work on display and plans on continuing to do photography work and push for promotion of her pieces.

“I know people and opportunities are not just going to find me,” Riley said. “My business background has taught me that I have to go out and get what I want. I’m never going to stop.”

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