Visitors to photography exhibit at Imagine RIT will step into a ‘surreal diorama’

Students’ goal is to show intricacies behind large-scale production shoot used in advertising

Follow Rich Kiley on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

Before his arrival on the RIT campus nearly two years ago, photo giant Clay Patrick McBride had become renowned for his bold and edgy portraits of top celebrities and athletes such as Kanye West, LeBron James and the rock group Metallica.

Visitors to this year’s Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on Saturday, May 7, will get the chance to receive similar celebrity treatment experienced in advertising when they step into a state-of-the-art set designed by McBride and 16 students from his large scale production photography class.

“The set itself is amazing. There’s going to be a live preview, strobe lighting, tin ceiling … it’s going to be bold and crazy,” said McBride, a lecturer in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. “I’m confident that Imagine guests will be stepping into an elaborate stage and environment they’ve never experienced before.”

McBride said the exhibit will transform University Gallery inside Booth Hall into a “surreal diorama, providing visitors an authentic 3D experience.”

“We’ve been building it out for over a month,” he said.

The exhibit’s goal is to provide Imagine visitors with a better understanding of all that happens behind the scenes of a large scale advertising shoot. It will be participatory in nature, enabling visitors to work directly with RIT student photographers who will demonstrate the myriad decisions behind a complex production shoot.

“Advertising photography requires a more elaborate picture,” McBride said. “A lot of people don’t know about the tremendous amount of skill and teamwork that is behind such a photograph.”

While previous Imagine visitors have been able to see “behind the curtain” when it comes to photography’s technological side, McBride said this exhibit will open people’s eyes wide open to set design, art direction and studio lighting.

And everyone will leave the shoot with a small print souvenir branded “Imagine RIT 2016.”

“We’re going to give the exhibit a slick advertising feel for all visitors,” McBride said. “That’s something that people don’t get the chance to experience. You’re not going to want to miss it.”