Take/Aim exhibition at ASU's Northlight Gallery tackles multiple perspectives on hunting

Artists share their perspectives on what hunting is and how man relates to nature

Camouflage jackets, animal tracks, open fields and blood splatters: these are just some of the sights hanging on the walls at the exhibition Take/Aim.

Take/Aim is an exhibition curated by ASU alum William LeGoullon and is in collaboration with ASU Northlight Gallery and Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art. The display targets the ideas around hunting and the relationship between man and nature.

Neither advocating for nor against hunting, this exhibition aims to walk a fine line between what is wrong and what is right in hunting culture through its diverse display of photographs from artists of differing opinions.

LeGoullon was responsible for creating the concept for the exhibition, selecting the works, finding the artists, finding a venue and acquiring funding. He said his interest for this exhibition sparked from previous works regarding gun culture in relationship to natural environments and habitats.

However, he said he wanted people to realize that this show is not focused on gun culture, a hot topic, but rather opening a conversation about people's beliefs about hunting.

“It’s designed to open people’s eyes to thinking about hunting, hunters and the concepts related to man versus nature in ways that perhaps they didn’t think of before, but also to challenge existing beliefs, “LeGoullon said.  “We all have preconceived notions of what hunting is and what the animals go through.”

He said one of his main goals while selecting photographs for the exhibition was creating a variety of images that could walk the line between conflicting beliefs while still presenting the beauty of life and death.

“Some images were selected specifically because I wanted the shocking ‘wow factor,’ and some images are subtle and even humorous,” he said. “Regardless of what people feel toward hunters, I think they can at least appreciate the beauty in what is happening even if it is sad, and they don’t agree with it.”

It has been equally challenging for LeGoullon to pin down his own feelings on the topic.

“Even for myself, I’m not a hunter, and after doing this project, there are still questions I have about what is right and what is wrong,” he said.

Joe Mannino, also an ASU alum, is one of the artists contributing to this presentation of what hunting culture is truly about. Mannino said he was a hunter before he was a photographer and artist.  His two black-and-white pieces in the exhibition, “That Slight Nervous Feeling When Coming Across a Fresh Bear Track” and “Making Tracks on Tracks,” show the relationship between Mannino’s tracks and those of an animal.

He said he wants the viewers to come away with a different idea about what a hunter is than what is stereotypical.

“You see hunters portrayed on movies or TV shows as either the beer-swelling redneck guy who shoots at everything or the rich, affluent white male who goes to Africa,” he said. “Those kind of scenarios have a sense of almost colonialism, and for the most part, that is a small bit of the hunting population.”

He said his perspective of hunting varies greatly from that stereotype.

“Generally speaking, most of us really care about the environment," he said. "We care about the long-term viability of wildlife and wild places."

Mannino knows not everyone will agree with his perspective and presentation of photographs, but said he hopes people will understand there can be a myriad of feelings and connections to the issue.

“I’m sure some students will appreciate it, and some students will have a not pro-hunting opinion towards it, but that’s what art is about: to present different world views," he said.

Megan Henry, a junior communications major who has her own photography business, said she understands how photographs can be important in influencing a person’s perspective, like in the case of Take/Aim.

“I would say photography has a way of shining a light on whatever the photographer is feeling or trying to capture,” Henry said.

From a photographer’s point of view, she said that images can be biased to what a photographer feels has importance, but are a great way of telling a story.

“Some things can be interpreted differently,” she said. “Some things are easier to show than to say.”

This rings true for the exhibition Take/Aim as it challenges people's beliefs about the controversial topic.

The exhibition runs Oct. 21 - Dec. 2 at Northlight Gallery and is free to all. There will be an artist lecture featuring Brooks Dierdorff at the closing reception on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

Reach the reporter at kasando1@asu.edu or follow @karismasandoval onTwitter.

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