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Melissa Nunn for TRW

World War II photography hidden in plain sight

In late August, the Library Gallery at the Albin O. Kuhn Library unveiled their display “They Fight with Cameras: Walter Rosenblum in WWII from D-Day.” Since then, the gallery, rich with photographs and artifacts, has been left virtually untouched by students.

Some students who have made it in have been given assignments based on what is housed in the gallery, which was the reason for senior graphic design major Amanda Speicher’s visit. As a commuter who felt somewhat removed from student life in general, she was a stranger to the library’s in-house art collection.

“It’s nice to see photos of war that are not photo-journalistic. These photos are really raw,” said Speicher.

Something that caught Speicher’s attention was the quality of the photos for the time in which they were taken. “These photos were taken before digital photography was around. You can see that they are black and white, and that’s something to appreciate,” said Speicher.

“The exhibit is not very happy, which is probably why many students do not come in, but they are in the library anyway so I would definitely recommend stopping by,” said Speicher.

Sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major Kavita Kumar thinks that a lack of importance placed on art contributes to the emptiness of the gallery.

“It feels like there is a lack of focus on galleries in general among the arts, and arts here [at UMBC] are not regarded very highly,” said Kumar.

Senior political science major Hesham Hassanein shares Kumar’s sentiments on the popularity of the gallery among the students. “Students here seem to not be very interested in art and with as many commitments as they have, like school and extracurricular activities, the gallery is probably in the back of their minds,” said Hassanein.

However, this did not affect her opinions on the content within the gallery itself. “These photos really bring to life what it was like to experience war and combat and to live in that environment,” said Kumar.

She also touched on the importance of photography and the impact it can have on people. “[Photography] provides perspectives on certain topics, and photographers are purposeful with their photos because they want to capture something,” said Kumar.

On the pictures themselves, Kumar said the emotional narrative was inevitable, but that only added to the quality of the photos.

“These photos are cool because they show what it was like to not live a life of luxury, and with photography as an art form, you can’t not let some emotion seep through to the audience,” said Kumar.

The display will be in the library gallery until Dec. 16.