Professor Cynthia O'Dell

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Professor Cynthia O'Dell
Professor Cynthia O'Dell

“I came to photography very young, and for me college was a way for me to establish economic stability as a woman. I have always been interested in lots of different topics, but I have also always put words with my images. For me, photography is about the power of telling stories. I love to tell stories. I come from a line of storytellers: women who made quilts and told stories with the quilts, told stories making quilts, and my mom is a storyteller. What really started to develop as I matured more as an artist or as a photographer, is that I didn’t know if I saw myself as a photographer, a documentary photographer, or a storyteller. The word ‘artist’ is something that when I was younger, I didn’t always take that label. Storytelling can be dangerous, it can be destructive, it can perpetuate stereotypes. And so, I started looking at that theoretically. But this environment for me is a really great way for me to be involved with students and helping them tell stories, and I want to empower students to tell their story. Stories are how we function, how we work. We need stories to remember the past, to help translate where we are headed, and we just need to share. So photography and art for me is about communication.”