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Redefining ‘nude’ with images and social media

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Redefining ‘nude’ with images and social media

Photo by Tiana Powell

Photo by Tiana Powell

Photo by Tiana Powell

John Nordell, Guest writer

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AIC Resident Advisor Crystal Mallett organized a recent event that encouraged students to assess the role social media plays in their lives, understand the power of images and to create an expanded definition of the color “nude”.
Social media trends such as #blackgirlmagic (the concept that women of color of any shape and skin tone are beautiful) and #blacklivesmatter (a call to action and response to anti-black racism) inspired Mallett to create the workshop.
At the event in the Campus Center Auditorium, students discussed the pros and cons of social media.
Shannoya Scott, who honors her deceased parents each year on Facebook, described how she has deeply connected with other individuals that read her posts and shared that they had lost parents as well.
Shanell Russo explained that images of perfect models, sometimes Photoshopped beyond reality, fostered insecurity for her.
The question of venting on social media came up as well. Some used social media to vent. Others felt that saying you are upset is okay, but lots of details were unnecessary.
Mallett asked Professor John Nordell to share his views on the importance of images and social media.
Photo by Tiana Powell
He noted that ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American in the 19th Century. Striving to counter the racist stereotypes of blacks at the time, Douglass sought out photographers to take his picture and always posed in a manner that conveyed intelligence, strength, pride and determination.
Photo by Tiana Powell
Nordell also mentioned the power of images to change society, such as when images of civil rights protestors in the 1960s being attacked by police spurred other individuals to take action.
The workshop culminated in a photo shoot that created a powerful vision of justice as students dressed in clothes that related to their shade of nude, their skin tone.
Photography Minor Tiana Powell took pictures as the students posed against a neutral grey backdrop that let each skin tone shine.
The beautiful and socially impactful images are making the rounds on social media. By learning from each other and from the past, by understanding the power and importance of images, students made history.

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