Teacher Amy Balko’s photography students at Greater Latrobe Senior High School recently participated in a virtual visiting artist program with 2018 Greater Latrobe alum Jason Starr. The program was made possible by a grant from the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation.
Students learned about Starr’s photography process and portraiture work and were able to ask him questions at the end of his presentation.
Starr is a photographer and junior at James Madison University pursuing a degree in political science and studio art. Additionally, he works as the director at the ArtWorks student-run gallery at James Madison.
His work is a reflection of his identity and interpersonal experiences. He often finds himself influenced by his environment, the people close to him in his life at a given point in time, and issues he finds paramount on a personal and societal level. As a byproduct of this, his work is an exploration of human emotion, expression, beauty and its presence in a specific space.
Captivated by nostalgia, his work deals with memories and time to shape a conversation between the human form and how it’s perceived. He captures moments that are fleeting and genuine to the subjects he decides to photograph.
Starr currently has a show, “Living in a Time of Distance,” at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art until April 4.
This body of work aims to capture the vast impacts and experiences with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the continental United States. The images were taken on a month-long cross-country road trip during July and August 2020.
“I was thankful to receive an engagement grant through James Madison University which funded the creation of this exhibition,” Starr said.
The written documentation of the stories showcased in the show was created with the assistance of Lydia Daily and Jimmy Wickum. When creating the images, he wanted to illustrate the diversity and intersectionality of issues driven by the pandemic. This includes documenting large cities, small communities, and the racial justice reckoning amid the pandemic. In this way, this exhibition works to expand its viewer’s personal perspectives and ideas of privilege.
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