Graduate Student Captures Powerful Images


Christopher Palm

A collection of photos on display showcasing the work of Julia Slezak

When people think of photography, they think of memorable moments captured from the past to safekeep for the future.

For graduate student Julia Slezak, she utilizes her photography skills to capture more than just moments but a story behind her craft.

Slezak’s family played a huge part in her inspiration to get into photography, sending pictures to loved ones from far away.

“I think like such a huge form of communication in all of us was always sending pictures to family,” said Slezak.

Through her years growing up, Slezak became fascinated with photography and took up the profession to perfect her skills.

This past Saturday, Slezak held a photo gallery at the Olmsted Building, showcasing her photography skills to the public.

The photo gallery, titled “I’m Not Crazy,” share both a meaning and a message that tell a story beyond the camera lens.

“Wanting to put an accurate representation of women whenever it comes to mental illnesses,” said Slezak.  “Wanting to show something that is real and people can understand.”

The images that were on display on the gallery showcase the awareness of modern-day adversity, ranging from struggles to breakdowns and even sympathy.

In the case of Slezak’s stories behind these photos, her advocacy has played a part through her images.

“It’s definitely something that like you see, and you see somebody at one of their worst and lowest moments,” said Slezak, “but it’s also something that you can get through as I did.”

One of those examples is a photo entitled “Inside,” with a person shown struggling to keep up with three computers and a phone surrounding that person.

Another photo, “Lost Highway,” shows a driver in her car driving blindfolded.  Slezak said that photo was taken at a very low speed, two miles per hour, with the camera set at a low shutter speed.

Students, faculty and staff of the Penn State Harrisburg community, including those from off campus, attended the gallery to support Slezak and her work during her graduate studies.

Graduating with her master’s degree, Slezak wants to continue showcasing her professional photography skills.

“Definitely continuing in this and making fine art, like gallery work,” said Slezak.  “It’s something I love.  I love the idea of making a collection of photos that all are under the same idea.”

Slezak’s contribution to photography during her graduate studies at Penn State Harrisburg will leave a memorable moment in her life for years to come.