Nature’s Personality is an exhibition featured by the Meek-Eaton Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum as a part of Florida A&M University’s Artists In Bloom Festival.
Created by Marcella David, the university’s provost, Florida A&M University, Nature’s Personality defines the essence of capturing the affection of different environments through their natural visual elements.
David’s passion for photography began at an early age. From being the designated photographer on family vacations, she discovered a hobby that would stick with her as she matured into adulthood.
“My artistic origins begin with my mother. My mother, who always wanted to have pictures of family and family events, could not figure out how to load a camera. There are two aspects that emerged from this: I became the family photographer and the second one was that every time a new camera was invented she was sure that I would understand and she wouldn’t,” David said.
When her mother passed away in 2001, David was left with her mother’s glorious treasures of many different cameras. She believes that a big part of being a photographer is being able to expand your audience's mind visually with new content.
“I always linked going out and seeing the world with coming back and sharing it with other people. The best way to do that for me was photography,” David said.
Monae White, a graduating business administration student from Washington D.C., found it refreshing to be able to see someone of high academic rank in a more personal light.
“I find it amazing when professors or administrators have die-hard passions aside from those that we see on a daily basis. The fact that the provost actually takes time to engage in a hobby that takes as much dedication as making sure that the university is on track academically, is an inspiring thing,” White said.
When asked how she balances her demanding job as a professional scholar with her passion for the visual arts, David admits that time and patience are key factors.
“You begin to understand that you can’t do it all at once. I try and find time to get in shots even if it’s an afternoon shooting in my house,” she said. Brent Paul, one of the people who I shot with, gave us a task and it inspired me. He instructed us to choose six photos from the six weeks that we spent together and it forced me to get through it, which left me with no time to linger.”
LaDonna Carney, a graduating criminal justice student from Washington D.C., described the overall exhibit as passionate and invigorating.
“What I like most about the collection is that the pictures were rich in detail, it’s like they captured the unseen moments of nature. The images of nature stood out the most because they highlighted the beauty of nature. You never know how beautiful your everyday surroundings are until you see them in a still image,” Carney said.
David attempts to utilize all aspects of nature when trying to get that perfect shot. She feels as though areas where the animals engage with their surroundings draw her in the most.
“The environments that I love the most are the ones where you really get to see the animals play around with their natural habitats. The Galapagos is my favorite area to shoot. It has been an environment that’s been shaped by tectonic plates, it’s a volcanic environment where you can really see and learn about evolution,” said David.
David’s unique way of wrapping stories around the pictures she takes makes her craft even more appreciated.
Nature’s Personality, an exploration of grace and charm, will be on display from April 1 until Sept. 1, in the Black Archives.