“Parisian Views: Instagram Discoveries by Yeshiva College Students” is the most recent installation in the second-floor Pollack Library gallery and will be up throughout the month of January.
Students in Dr. Rachel Mesch’s course Parisian Views learned about new approaches to art and literature that came about in 19th-century Paris, when artists began to see the everyday life of their rapidly changing city as fodder for artistic creation.
Impressionists like Manet, Degas, Renoir and Caillebotte and writers like Baudelaire, Balzac and Zola depicted what they observed all around town—on the bustling boulevard, in newly constructed cafés and restaurants, in recently renovated parks and at the theater. They loved to capture life in motion and were very much influenced by the new technology of the camera.
In Parisian Views, students treated New York City as a similar source of inspiration and learned how to become artists of everyday life. With their private @parisianviews Instagram account this past fall semester, students tried to see through 19-century eyes in order to capture the unexpected beauty in the most seemingly mundane aspects of our city.
Some of these first-year students discovered New York City for the first time, while others found a brand-new perspective on a city that they have long considered home. From traffic and garbage to street signs and buildings, to moments of nature meeting the unforgiving concrete jungle, they captured the changing city with a new sense of wonder. Their photographs are alternately haunting and joyous, conveying their creative engagement with the neighborhoods that will be their stomping grounds for these next four years.
Students Elazar Abrahams, David Tanner, Josef Kahn, Hudi Aronovitz, Charlie Grill, Dovid Gelbtuch, Mayer Adelman, Seth Bodek, Asher Gritz, Ben Mankowitz, Joey Mogilner, and Raziel Siegman contributed their photographs to the exhibition.
(Special thanks to Paul Glassman, director of libraries, and Dr. Rachel Mesch, professor of English and French and chair of the Yeshiva College English Department, for their help with this article.)