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November 16, 2012

ULM professor's photograph collection "Waterline" part of "Art With a View" Nov. 16-17

In 2006, Dr. Bette J. Kauffman, associate professor of mass communication at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, explored the idea of garnering emotions from photography in "Waterline," an interactive exhibit of post-Katrina photography.

Today, that work is still being honored with two new local exhibits.

Those interested in interactively viewing the complete "Waterline" collection can view it during "Art with a View," on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16-17, in the Chase Premier Tower between North 18th St. and North 19th St. in Monroe.

"Art with a View" is an annual art contest which serves as a fundraiser for The Monroe Symphony Orchestra, where artists buy space to display and sell their work.

Tickets can be purchased on the fourth floor of Premier Plaza.

The Friday night event includes a Patron Party from 5-7 p.m., and a gallery viewing from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $45.

Artists will attend the Patron Party to visit with guests. Art can also be purchased at the event.

On Saturday, the gallery will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a second chance to view the art and meet the artists. Tickets for this event are $20.

Framed fragments of "Waterline" are also being exhibited at Cross Keys Bank on Hudson Lane in Monroe until the end of November, during regular bank hours.

"Waterline" has received numerous recognitions and was presented at the 5th International Conference on the Arts in Society in Sydney, Australia, while also receiving support throughout Louisiana.

In the near future, Kauffman would like to turn the project into a book.

Most recently, Kauffman's work has been published in a book of photography, "How We See It…More Views of Our World," a celebration of the diversity of female photographers and writers.

Kauffman was afforded this opportunity as a result of the social media platform Google Plus.

The book can be found only at and is printed as ordered. Kauffman recommends that all photographers join Google Plus as it provides opportunities for networking and feedback.

Kauffman described her work: "The intent of the installation is not only to raise awareness and understanding of the devastation of a wonderful and irreplaceable city, but to evoke the ubiquitous, equalizing and emotional power and effect of the actual flood line in the city of New Orleans."

More about "Waterline":

Waterline consists of 8 x 12 photographs mounted on white foam core and installed edge-to-edge with only the waterline in each photograph aligned.

The photographs for each installation are selected from approximately 600 exposures from all over New Orleans taken during five trips to the city from April 1 – June 10, 2006.

As an interactive exhibit, "Waterline" welcomes visitors to record responses to the photos on the foam core above and below the photographs.

Many have responded with expressions of passion, anger, hope, and faith.

Responses include:

Thank you for this very touching exhibit. Thank you for an opportunity to grieve. Thank you for honoring what was lost.

So many neighbor hoods represented here, all divisions wiped out for a moment in time by the incompetence of those put in power to protect us.

Very moving—it captures in images what is often difficult to express in words.

A powerful way to turn pain into beauty.

As seen from these responses, "Waterline" accomplishes what Kauffman says is her most important communicative goal: "My photography is working when people connect with it in a meaningful way; when they see it as relevant to life; when it helps them make sense of experience. My work is purposed to convey the human condition in all of its glory and pathos, heroism and hubris, dignity and degradation. As a symbol of unity for a profound city, "Waterline" speaks directly to human life by helping make sense of a devastating experience."

Exhibit History

Art with a View, Premier Tower, Monroe (Dec. 2006; 2008; 2009; 2010)

Joe W. Brown Memorial Chapel, Grace Episcopal Church, New Orleans (Aug. 29 –Dec. 31, 2007)

Coolspace @ Artspace, Shreveport, (Aug. 28 – Oct. 18, 2008)

Starbucks 2008 Leadership Conference, Morial Convention Center, New Orleans (Oct. 24-30, 2008)

Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge (Aug. 12 – Sept. 30, 2010)

Holzhauer Gallery, Northeast Florida State College, Niceville, FL (Sept. 3 – Oct. 10, 2010)

Eby Annex, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Monroe (Mar. 9 – May 1, 2011)

The Big Room Gallery, Monroe (Aug. 4 – Sept. 4, 2011)

More about the photographer:

Kauffman received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, and her master's degree and Ph.D. in communications from the University of Pennsylvania.

She has professional experience in still photography, videography, journalism, and public relations.

She has exhibited photographs in The Bowl Room Gallery of the Iowa Memorial Union, the School of Journalism at the University of Iowa, and has won awards in underwater photography competitions.

Kauffman's honors thesis used photography to study cross-cultural uses of public space, her master's thesis studied children's ability to interpret and analyze news and advertising photographs, and her doctoral dissertation was an ethnographic study of women artists.

For more information, contact Dr. Bette J. Kauffman at 318-342-1400, or

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