Issue IX of Global Impressions celebrates photography as a tool for storytelling. When traveling away from home to places that are new to us, the call to record our journey is compelling. Whether we travel as student, anthropologist, journalist, scientist, or tourist, we take our camera to record what we see, observe, and experience. Sometimes it’s a mundane scene; at other times, something startlingly strange, new or incomprehensible. Little by little, our photos begin to tell a story we may not have known or understood at the time we took the pictures. In a departure from our usual format, our issue opens with a panel discussion with Smith faculty from the Smith College Art Department and the Museum on the ethical issues that face all those who take photos today, be they with a professional camera or spontaneously with their smart phone. Be sure to scroll down to the last essay, which features a 20 minute video by Smith alumnae, Amie Song ’16, on evolving cultural identities of international students from China as they spend four years of college at Smith.
The theme of our next issue of Global Impressions will focus on Immigration. Many of us, if not all, emigrated from elsewhere to the United States, whether our ancestors came with the Mayflower, or our families came later to escape famines, wars, pogroms, or to seek their fortune or a more promising life in the new country of “America.” Some of us have stayed, some may be passing through and returning to their country of origin, but most of us share a history of coming from other countries and making a new life among the many others that constitute this country historically and today. What is your story of immigration? Where do you come from? And how have you and your family forged a new, “American” life and identity? Submit your story by Friday, September 29, 2017. For more details, see our submission page.
— The Editors
In anticipation of holding our annual Global Encounters photography contest and exhibit this year, we invited faculty from the Art Department and the Smith College Museum to address some of the ethical issues that come up when taking photographs.
Echo Zhang ’19
I was walking with two huge suitcases around Shinjuku station. Google Maps told me that my hotel was only a four minute walk away, yet I had been wandering around for half an hour and was still incredibly lost. “I probably came out from the wrong exit,” I thought to myself, “but why on Earth did they have to design this place to be a maze?”
Baily Smith-Dewey ’17
In my experience, the Danish word hygge is one of the main things brought up when discussing Denmark. This word means some sort of cozy mood or feeling brought about by everyday actions or events. Spending a semester in Copenhagen living with a host family allowed me to understand and feel on a daily basis the true meaning and value of hygge.
Renu Linberg ’18J
A friend and I traveled to Iceland last summer. We road-tripped around the island with a long list of destinations, traveling east and north, getting lost often, and finding new sights around every bend.
Enas Jahangir ’18
This J-Term I traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia — a trip that, in large part, left me with more questions than answers. These questions concerned my ideas about the world, myself, and home. Many of the seemingly insignificant moments from this trip are the ones that resonated with me most deeply, and it is the image of this city that I shall return to.
Ruth Mekbib ’19
I took this photo when I went to Ethiopia over the summer for a vacation in 2016. Churches like this one have a special place in my heart not only because I grew up going to church almost every Sunday but also because they remind me of the strong tradition and culture in Ethiopia.
Laura Carroll ’06
The city of Tunis is full of unexpected juxtapositions. On our first night in the city, my group walked quickly through the narrow streets with guides who held lanterns and doubled as bodyguards to accompany us through the medina after dark. Though the walk was stressful, it ended with our arrival at a beautiful traditional Tunisian home.
Claire Horne ’17
Our world today is saturated with images, especially photographs, to the point where it is easy to find a place familiar without ever traveling there. There is an image of Sydney that most tourists will picture before even arriving: the bustling boatyard of the Harbor, the distinctive white peaks of the Sydney Opera House, and the great arch of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Sable Liggera ’17
When I woke up the next day, I wasn’t surprised by the sky’s lack of clouds or blue, but rather the sun itself– its normal color transformed to a hot, neon red through the lens of heavy pollution.
Sarah Reibman ’17
During my semester in Cameroon I realized how easy it would be to change my flight home. After all, my flight from Yaoundé had a layover in Casablanca from which I could easily push the connecting flight back one week. Easier said than done.
Jessica Ryan ’17J
I had come to Rome worried that my shy and introverted ways would make me a lonely sight far away from my children and home. And in Rome I was truly alone for the first time in perhaps over twenty years. I did not expect, however, the clarity and perspective that comes from the experience of being alone abroad.
Amie Song ’16
More than 120 Chinese students are currently studying at Smith College, which makes them the largest international student group on campus. In-Between offers an intimate look into the experience of three Chinese students studying in the U.S. It questions their identities between US and China – a problematic assimilation or a reverse cultural shock?