Exhibit preserves a quaint town
Posted March 3, 2006
Rhiannon Mim
Lorna Damerow, a friend of Liz Lucsko, studies the print ‘Railroad X,’ which showed a sunrise in Banning, Calif. To capture the photo Lucsko went to the same railroad crossing at the crack of dawn every day for a week, until she caught the perfect sunrise.

Liz Lucsko’s motivation for her art exhibition, held Feb. 23 at the Irene Carlson Gallery, was to capture life within the small town of Banning, Calif., before it is exploited into a commercialized city.

Pictures of ordinary situations, profiles of citizens and scenic photographs of Banning were displayed throughout the exhibit to capture the town’s fundamental nature.

Each of these photographs was carefully depicted and meant to show the true nature of Banning.

This exhibit was meant to document how small towns are disappearing to massive expansion of development throughout America.

“I tried to capture the essence of this small town before it turns into a modern city,” said Lucsko, a ULV alumna who graduated in 2003.

Lucsko began studying photography as a sophomore in high school and continued this passion through her college years. She began when she was 5-years-old, by taking pictures of her parents with her instamatic 110 mm camera.

Landscape photos were scattered throughout the exhibit, and the scenery within the photographs concentrated on parts of Banning that might not be around in the next few years. These pictures are what will be left to fulfill a memory of the grounds that Banning was built on.

“It’s interesting how the artist is trying to capture how Banning is now before it gets developed,” said freshman broadcast journalism major Ginny Ceballos.

Several semi-formal portraits were taken of Banning’s residents.

At first glance, the people in these portraits appeared to be selected at random, but Lucsko clarified that many of the subjects were icons within the town.

One portrait showed a man sitting in a chair at his home, which was taken because he was the first African American to hold a position on the Banning City Council.

While several of the portraits consisted of blank backgrounds, which were done to place emphasis on the person in the picture, some of the portraits were of events occurring in Banning taken to capture the liveliness of the town.

“The portraits portray the subjects in their casual attire, allowing you to see who they really are, but the fact that they are displayed in this professional manner raises them to a level of dignity that makes you more carefully consider them,” said Kevin Holland, photography department manager.

Taking a closer look at the portraits, it is as if the pictures capture the true character of the person photographed. So much life shines through in just a single portrait.

Lucsko’s goal in this exhibit was to capture the true essence of Banning before it becomes industrialized. When preparing for this exhibit Lucsko asked herself is she was able to see the true Banning, how it was meant to be, through these photographs.

“I like the expressions the people photographed hold,” junior art major Gerson Sanjuan said. “I wonder what’s going on when the pictures were taken. Several of the portraits display people laughing and I’d like to know why.”

Renee Bamford can be reached at belle_renee@yahoo.com.

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