Student exhibit features Black Belt residents

Sometimes misconceptions can be the deal breaker in the extent of a person’s success, but two UA juniors believe otherwise.

The Honors College is displaying a photojournalism exhibit by Marshall Houston, who is majoring in economics and English, and David Kumbroch, who is majoring in telecommunications and film with a focus in broadcast journalism, called Portraits and Layers of the Black Belt. The exhibit, located in Nott Hall, depicts the lives of seven citizens living in the Alabama’s Black Belt region.

“We wanted to clear up the weak stereotype of the people in the Black Belt and really create a human image,” Kumbroch said.

Houston said each of the photographs depicts a person who has defeated obstacles and achieved something great while living in the Black Belt. The majority of the people are from Marion and some from Selma.

“They all have very different and unique stories,” Kumbroch said. “We just kind of stumbled upon each of them randomly.”

Some of the citizens include John Allan Clark, a college dropout who has become a successful journalist in Perry County. He owns the Perry County Herald and gave the students an interesting heads-up about being in charge.

“Mr. Clark told us that in Marion you can pretty much be ‘the man’ at what you want to do,” Kumbroch said.

Houston said getting caught up in the day-to-day monotony of society could be a distraction of what is really important. He said the photographs in this exhibit were created to put society back on track.

“No matter how different we are, each of us share some type of human interest,” Houston said. “We all have hopes and dreams and fears on some level, and that is why we all share human experiences.”

Kumbroch said most of the time when people look at pictures, they do not see the real meaning behind it. He said the focus is on one thing, and audiences miss the big picture.

“Come in with a desire to learn,” Houston said. “Be open-minded, and you will find that they relate to you in some type of way.”

Coming from different states, Houston and Kumbroch became friends when they came to the University. Houston said they each have different strengths and used them for the exhibit.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better partner,” said Houston. “Marshall really knows how to create an essence with words.”

Kumbroch and Houston, who are members of the University Fellows Experience, are hoping to feature their work again at an upcoming research conference presentation. They will also be showcasing their exhibit for the first time in Perry County within the next few months, allowing the seven citizens to view the exhibit. .

Portraits and Layers of the Black Belt will be on display in the second-floor lobby of Nott Hall until March 15.

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