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Apr 02 2012

“Saul Flores Photographs” Exhibit Salutes Exemplary Service and Artistic Achievement of NC State Student

The NCSU Libraries is proud to announce the opening of “Saul Flores Photographs: The Walk of the Immigrants,” an exhibit of photographs taken by student Saul Flores on an epic trip to document the communities through which much of the recent immigration into the United States takes place.

Glue, Atencingo, Mexico  (Photo courtesy of Saul Flores)

Glue, Atencingo, Mexico
(Photo courtesy of Saul Flores)

In the summer of 2010, Flores–then a 20-year-old North Carolina State University junior studying business marketing and graphic design–undertook a ten-country, 5,000-mile trip, much of it on foot, from Ecuador, where he was participating in a university-sponsored service program, to his home in Charlotte, NC.  On this journey, which paralleled the arduous and often dangerous trip that many take as they travel north to attempt to move into the U.S., he took over 20,000 photos of the lives of people and places along the way.  Proceeds from the sale of his photographs and sponsorships of his journey are aiding an elementary school in his mother’s hometown, the small rural community of Atencingo, Mexico.

The NCSU Libraries’ “Saul Flores Photographs” exhibit highlights some of the most striking work from Flores’ collection, both to honor the exemplary spirit of service and courage demonstrated by this student and to make widely accessible photographic art of the highest emotional impact and beauty.

Flores’ project began with an earlier service trip to Mexico taken by the NC State Caldwell Fellows (http://www.ncsu.edu/fellows/), an intensive leadership-development scholarship program that brings together young people who share a passion for learning, growing, and serving others.

Inspired to act by what he discovered during his service, Flores took his walk to “raise awareness of the beauty of these Latin American countries as well as the struggles that the people face.”

The overall impact of the photos Flores took on the trip is, as NC State’s Bulletin has suggested, to “bring a measure of compassion and understanding to the ongoing national debate about immigration.”

Car Pool (Photo courtesy of Saul Flores)

Car Pool (Photo courtesy of Saul Flores)

“The NCSU Libraries always strives to encourage, enable, and display student growth and excellent student work, especially work that furthers NC State’s mission to transform lives and provide leadership for social, economic, and technological development,” explains Susan K. Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “Saul Flores lives out all that is best in NC State’s ethic of service, as imagined in the Caldwell Fellows program that inspired him. His beautiful work was sparked in part by encouragement, mentoring, and teaching from countless faculty and staff at the university—and we are proud to display it.”

“Saul Flores Photographs” is open and free to the public in the Exhibit Gallery at the D. H. Hill Library during regular hours from January 18 through July 27th.  The exhibit has been produced with generous support from the Goodnight Educational Foundation Library Endowment for Special Collections.