Ten students from Santa Monica College (SMC) are participating in a J. Paul Getty Museum project in which students from four Los Angeles area community colleges are studying with prominent American photographers whose work is featured in a new exhibit at The Getty Museum in Brentwood.

Officially launched earlier this month, the project has brought the photography students into The Getty to view and discuss the new exhibit, Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection. The project also arranged to have the students participate in a panel discussion and has also taken the students on a photo expedition to each school’s geographic area, in SMC’s case, Venice.

The SMC students have been working with Alex Harris, one of the photographers whose work is in the Berman Collection show at The Getty.

The students will revisit their areas for two weeks of intense photographic exploration, and their work will be juried by members of the museum’s curatorial and educational staff, as well as representatives of the Getty Photographs Council.

A 40-piece show resulting from the project, underwritten by the Getty Photographs Council, will begin touring the four colleges in February, beginning with Los Angeles Valley College and continuing to East Los Angeles College and College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

The exhibit is scheduled to be shown at Santa Monica College in September.

“This Getty project is giving our students a rare opportunity to work closely with Alex Harris, a distinguished photographic artist, and to have him critique their work and offer insight and guidance,” said SMC photography professor Bob Ware.

“Above all, the photography they are doing for the project has forced them to look inward and find what it is in their environment that excites them and why,” Ware said. “I think each of them has already been changed by the experience well beyond their expectations.”

The SMC students participating in the project are Erika Alghafari, Patricia Alpizar, Fabiola Arias, Eleanore Atkins, Nelson Castro, Jessica Domino, Shannon Donnelly, Kynsti Kauppinen, Sarah St. Clair Renard and Moira Stinocher.

The Berman Collection exhibit opened last month at The Getty and will be displayed through February 25th.

A wide-ranging survey of life in the U.S. since the 1960s, the exhibit showcases American color photography in nearly 170 works by 24 prominent contemporary artists. Some of the works are being showcased for the first time, according to a Getty spokesman.

The presentation marked the opening of the Getty Museum’s new and expanded suite of galleries devoted to photographs.

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