PhotoBooth Reveals Community at Scripps

Photobooth Project

When we say “the Scripps community,” what do we mean? Who are we, anyway?

A 40-foot wall of photos in front of Malott Commons gives answers: We are a wide mix of women and men, young and old, student and teacher and worker, who are thoughtful, fun-loving, pensive, outrageous, creative, and, ultimately, fascinating. During the past two months, we’ve had a great time looking at ourselves to figure out who we are, both individually and collectively.

All members of the Scripps community were invited to have their photo taken during two days in September in a campus “photo booth” by photographer Christopher Irion. A total of 382 turned out — 275 students, 60 staff, 40 faculty, and seven guests (including one faculty member’s dog) — and all were included in the final product: a twosided installation of oversized black and white photos that suggest the personality of each subject. There are the “Challah for Hunger” students, in their bakers hats, Motley managers with coffee cups, the grounds crew with rakes and hedge clippers, the dining manager with raised knife and fork, staff quilters proudly displaying their craft, and, of course, the students: with text books, stuffed animals, cameras, letters from home, ice skates, cookies, and often their best friend.

“There is something sublime about seeing people together like this, reflecting their personalities,” said Fatima Elkabti ’09, student body president. “The beauty is that they are all together. This reflects the spirit of Scripps: nothing is edited out or censored.”

“It’s amazing. If I were a prospective student and saw this, I’d go here,” said Rachael Ballard ’11.

“He captured people very well,” said Thierry Boucquey, professor of French.

“Awesome!” added Danielle Tucci ’12. “It’s so cool to see your friends. I walk by it, come back, and oh! more people you didn’t see before. It opens your eyes to the community as a whole, not just students.”

The installation will remain up through December, according to Interim President Fritz Weis, who brought PhotoBooth to Scripps after seeing the successful Claremont PhotoBooth project last year at the Claremont Art Museum. The ad hoc PhotoBooth committee, consisting of art professor Nancy Macko, Assistant to the President Linda Scott, Director of Facilities Niel Errickson, Director of Grounds Lola Trafecanty, Director of Public Relations Mary Bartlett, and Fatima Elkabti ’09, is considering relocating the project in the future to available wall space on campus or storing it for future viewing.