Written by Lou Desiderio, President of Synergy Communications, Inc.

“If I could give any advice to my peers, it would be to find some way to work with students, even if it just a short term project. The energy, creativity and in some cases naiveté, is enlightening and always inspiring. Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working on several cool and even ground-breaking projects, such as Canon’s Explorers of Light program and the introduction of Adobe Lightroom. In both cases the projects involved close interaction with university-level students and instructors and provided a creative energy like no other and a renewed sense of excitement I could apply in other areas of my business. It was especially rewarding for me to combine the resources and technology of Corporate America with the inquisitive minds found on college campuses.

That privilege crossed my path once again when Western Digital (WD) created a Fashion Walk project involving students from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Under the guidance of world renowned photographer Bruce Dorn, eight photo students took to the famed New York City High Line for an afternoon of shooting. These types of projects are nothing new but it was the first time that photo students collaborated with fashion design students at the school to create an impressive portfolio of images. Fashions worn by the models were original designs created by four FIT students. But the project didn’t end there; in fact, it was just the beginning!

The students enjoyed the experience so much they thought an exhibit of their images would be appropriate. Thanks to the help of other corporate sponsors such as Hahnemühle and Canon, the students were able to mount an exhibit that shares their vision with their peers, and anyone walking down 7th Avenue in New York City.

Now through mid-September, those who walk along 7th Avenue at 27th Street will be treated to large, 44 x 60-inch prints which hang majestically along a bank of windows facing Fashion Avenue. The large prints, created on Hahnemühle’s Photo Luster roll paper using Canon’s imagePROGRAF iPF 8400 wide format printer, are almost life-like. It was especially fun for me to watch pedestrians strolling along their merry way, only to stop dead in their tracks to take a closer look at the photographs.

FIT exhibit taken from interior by Lou Desiderio

FIT exhibit taken from interior by Lou Desiderio

The exhibit itself, which resides in the lobby of the Pomerantz Art and Design Center, reveals several dimensions beyond the large prints hanging in the window. For starters, the original fashion designs are also on display, along with a collection of smaller prints from the project. A three-minute video provides a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot on the High Line, giving viewers a unique perspective on the project and a better understanding of how well the students worked together.

I think what excited me most was how willing companies like Hahnemühle, Canon and WD were to get involved. A quick phone call explaining the project and exhibit resulted in a large shipment of Hahnemühle Photo Lustre paper which arrived only two days after the initial request. Canon sent a team of techs to set up the large format printer, train students, and create a printer profile for the paper. WD provided each student with high capacity My Passport portable hard drives to copy and protect their images.

The exhibit will be on display through the middle of September and I encourage anyone in the neighborhood to stop by and take a look – it is open to the public. It is really quite amazing what can be accomplished when business works closely with education.

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