Alumni delve into photography archives

A pop-up photographic exhibition curated by La Trobe alumni has launched at Union Hall on the Melbourne Campus. (Pictured: La Trobe students with the first University computer, 1967)

Highlights from La Trobe’s rich photographic archives are on display to celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary.

Exhibit F(ifty) is the latest installment in a series of events that began with Exhibit A(lumni) in 2012, followed by exhibits B(endigo), C(hina), D(emonstration) and E(migrate).

Members of La Trobe’s alumni community volunteered as guest curators for the exhibition, each selecting a photograph from the University archive and providing a personal reflection on their chosen pieces.

Alumnus Helen Sutherland, who graduated from La Trobe in 1982, says the photography exhibition brought back fond memories.

“It was great to take part – it had me thinking about all of the people who had such a big influence on my life. My time at La Trobe was very influential,” she says.

Helen selected a photo of the café La Plaka, which was located at The Agora on the Bundoora Campus. She says she would go there each morning before class to practice Spanish.

“I spent a lot of time there because the Spanish lecturers and students would gather there and we’d speak to each other in Spanish,” Helen says. “La Plaka was like a second home to me.”

Alumnus Ray Richardson, who was part of the first cohort of students to attend La Trobe in 1967, is also among the guest curators for Exhibit F(ifty). He says the photographs capture the University’s early days perfectly.

“Back in that first year, there was only 500 or so of us and that included staff, so it was a big family really,” Ray says. “We got to mix with students from outside our own disciplines and that was what made La Trobe different.”

Ray’s chosen photograph was taken at Glenn College in 1968, and shows students enrolling in their chosen clubs and societies. He says being involved in the La Trobe University Theatre Group was a personal highlight.

“Theatre is a great way to meet people and it helps to expand your thoughts and see things from a new perspective. It certainly helped me, and I hope students today are able to take it up as well,” he says.

While La Trobe has significantly expanded since Ray was a student, he says some facets of the University remain the same.

“The photographs celebrate the diversity that La Trobe has always embraced, celebrated and encouraged - and it still does today,” he says.

Exhibit F(ifty) is presented by the Alumni and Advancement Office in partnership with the La Trobe Student Union and the La Trobe Art Institute, and will be on display at Union Hall until 21 January 2018.

Take a look at the photo gallery from the Exhibit F(ifty) launch event.

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