August 19, 2017  

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Cook Library to Present ‘In Memory of Light’ Photo Exhibit

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s Cook Library will 'In Memory of Light,' a photographic exhibit on display from Jan. 24 through March 10 in the Cook Library Art Gallery on the Hattiesburg campus.

Created by Diane DeCesare Ross, the exhibit captures moments of light, vision, and life. Every photograph is a memory of light, a memento lumina. Whether the image is a child caught in the wonder of an aquarium, a view of the ground from an airplane, or a detail from a luna moth wing, the viewer is invited to pause, and perhaps see the world in a different way.

“It is a happy accident that I fell into photography, an activity that involves focusing and framing to bring attention to a particular perspective. For me, photography is a form of meditation, a way to be more mindful, a way to focus on small moments of joy,” says Ross. She says the basis of her photography is the documentary training she received at Southern Miss from 1991-1992.

Ross’ inspiration for the exhibit came about when she researched 19th century keepsakes meant to memorialize those who had died. Noting that the name for these reminders — memento mori — is translated from Latin as “remember you must die.” Ross says she realized that it is just as important to “remember you must live.” This led to thinking about the association of near-death experiences with visions of light, light’s long association with spiritual enlightenment, and the physical properties of light that make both vision and life possible, which served as a reminder of what photography means to her.

A native of Biloxi, Miss., Ross has worked at the University full-time since 1999. She is the managing editor of The Southern Quarterly, an internationally known scholarly journal devoted to the interdisciplinary study of Southern arts and culture, and the Director of Digital Initiatives for the College of Arts and Letters. Previously, Ross worked as the Curator of Manuscripts, University Archives and Digital Collections for University Libraries and was the Director of the Mississippi Digital Library.