Alumni artist inspired by book, movements

Photo by Nicole Trujillo

The Runnels Gallery is holding an alumni show that features the photography artwork of Stephanie DeFranco.

Stephanie graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art with an emphasis in graphic design.

The Runnels Gallery will feature various images that Defranco conducted of different dancers.

“There’s a variety of different poses, movements, angles,” said DeFranco, adding that some feature special lighting effects, an underwater theme, a space theme, a carnival theme and a few other pieces.

DeFranco’s inspiration for the series was from the book “Marie, Dancing” by Carolyn Meyer. The book is about a 14-year-old girl named Marie living in poverty, who practices dancing at a dance studio in Paris. Marie is then selected to model for a famous artist, Edgar Degas. Marie began posing for the artists most famous sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen”.

“After I read the book, I fell in love with the history behind the sculpture,” DeFranco said.

She recruited friends to be her models for the project.

“I wanted to mix the dancers with beautiful scenery, blacklights and the theme of the Earth. Once I began shooting it, it became very popular, and people enjoyed seeing the work,” said DeFranco.

She began doing photography in 2007, her senior year of high school.

Originally, she was planning to be a music major. However, due to the inability to take a certain class, her parents encouraged her to take a yearbook class instead. DeFranco was learning about graphic design and layout and began working with a photographer who mentored her. Since then, DeFranco has established herself as a successful photographer.

DeFranco’s photography mainly focuses on high school seniors and portraits but also features images from traveling. She said she likes to spend time traveling as well and compiles photos from various trips she takes. She also likes to do watercolor painting and hand lettering in her free time.

DeFranco said she’s “super excited for the show,” which is her first solo show as a photographer. She has been featured in other gallery shows with other artists but has never had one of her own.

She said she wants to encourage students, faculty and the public to come out and see her photographs.

The art show will run through Oct. 19. A reception is to be held at 5 p.m. today in the Runnels Gallery.

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