UCO senior combines simplicity and style in ‘Menvironments’ photo exhibit
Zachary Hunter, senior, sits in the Woody Gaddis Gallery, where his series “Menvironments” is being exhibited, on Sept. 13, 2016. The exhibit will remain in the gallery through the end of the month. Photo by Cara Johnson, The Vista.
An exhibit celebrating fashion inspirations from everyday objects and places will decorate the walls of the University of Central Oklahoma’s Woody Gaddis Photo Gallery until the end of September.
A cheese grater, a pile of wood and a tiled bathroom floor are among the influences photographed in Zachary Hunter’s, 26, “Menvironments,” which pairs photos of simple things and scenes with enigmatic fashion portraits.
“I titled it ‘Menvironments’ because it combines menswear and our surrounding environments,” Hunter said. “It’s pretty straightforward.”
The photos are a series of diptychs, with the left side of the piece featuring menswear and the right side using bold colors, textures, patterns or shapes to mirror the left. Hunter, who is colorblind, not only designed and shot the photos — he also models in 10 of the 14 pieces currently hanging in the Woody Gaddis Gallery, he said.
Hunter, a senior majoring in photography and the co-president of UCO’s F/64 Photo Society, said the exhibit is the brainchild of his love of photography and humanities— his minor.
“My humanities minor comes into play because a lot of the environments are architecture, street art or things found in nature,” Hunter said. “Flowers, buildings, the State Capitol— anything I found interesting.”
A goal Hunter said he had in mind was to capture sights that people often overlook, gesturing to one of the photos featuring a cellphone tower.
“This cellphone tower is actually on campus right by the football field,” he said. “So people pass it everyday, but they don’t think [about how] you can be inspired by random little things that people see in daily situations.”
Citing a famous Anna Wintour quote discussing fashion as a “trickle-up” influence —meaning designers are inspired by people walking on the street rather than the other way around— Hunter said he started looking at how fashion can be impacted by things that typically go unnoticed.
“I originally started photographing the outfits first and then trying to find the matching environment, but it ended up being more difficult than I thought,” Hunter said. “So then I started working backwards.”
Hunter said he enjoys fashion photography because he gets bored easily and fashion constantly keeps him on his toes.
“It’s nothing like just shooting landscapes,” Hunter said. “You can photograph a tree and it will grow and get bigger, but it’s still in the same spot— its surroundings don’t really change.”
“Fashion is always changing,” he said. “There’s always new collections coming out, new things to photograph and new trends to keep up with. You can always push limits and do crazy stuff.”
To see more of Hunter’s photography, visit his website or the Woody Gaddis Gallery in Room 104 of the Mass Communications building. For more information about the Woody Gaddis Photo Gallery, visit its Facebook page.
“You can start with a little concept like how my project did and use that inspiration to create a whole fashion story. It’s cool watch it grow and unfold from beginning to end.”