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FRANK Gallery will showcase UNC's best photojournalists

Whether reporting on sports, politics or the arts, photography is a crucial element of journalism — and FRANK Gallery’s latest exhibit will showcase some of photojournalism's best at UNC.  

The University’s student chapter of the National Press Photographers Association, is holding their annual photojournalism competition, “37th Frame,” tonight on the gallery floor.

The name of the show comes from the technique of stretching film, which would ordinarily yield 36 frames, to hold an additional 37th. To some photographers, the myth goes that the 37th frame is always the most powerful.

The show displays photographs taken by students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, all of which will be evaluated categorically in an exhibit-wide contest.

“All the work is photo journalistic,” said junior journalism major Isabella Bartolucci. “None of it’s posed. It’s all real life stuff that photographers have captured.”

A former photographer for The Daily Tar Heel, Bartolucci is president of the UNC chapter of the NPPA and helped organize the event.

She said she hopes people leave the exhibit with a greater understanding about the relevance of photography in journalism.

“I think in today’s world, photography is as important as ever,” she said. “People wouldn’t read newspapers or click online if there weren’t pictures, and I think people need to appreciate that more.”

The photographs in the exhibit are divided into six categories: news, sports, feature, pictorial, portrait and photo stories. Each section will then be reviewed by a panel of three judges to determine a winner.

“It’s a chance for all the photojournalism kids to compete against each other in a friendly, supportive way,” said senior journalism major Carolyn Van Houten, a featured photographer. 

Van Houten’s featured pictures are from her time interning in Tampa, Fla., where she chronicled the difficult life of a grandmother raising the children of her imprisoned daughter.

Van Houten has received national recognition for her photographs of the family, and was recently interviewed by The New York Times on her work.

“I basically lived at her house,” Van Houten said. “There’s a ton of time and energy that goes into making these stories. You’re earning the trust of people and documenting them at their most vulnerable for the world to see.”

Though the competition and exhibition are typically held in galleries around the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area, this is the first year FRANK Gallery will serve as the venue for the NPPA's exhibition.

Torey Mishoe, FRANK's gallery manager, said the exhibit highlights how useful photojournalism is as an art form.

“Having it in such a small space really makes a powerful statement about photojournalism,” she said. “They’ve really put a lot of work into their photography and the writing that accompanies it.” 

Van Houten said she believes the event will be an excellent way for both students and passerby to see how the relationship between journalism and photography is changing.

“We’re all kind of bombarded with images every day, but these students put hours into picking out and capturing these images,” she said. 

“I think taking that pause and really taking the time to look at these photographs is incredible.”

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