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UC Berkeley Web Feature

Photo banner on light pole Banners from the PhotoBooth project line plazas and walkways across the UC Berkeley campus to celebrate 140 years of educational excellence. (Calixto Flores/UC Berkeley photo)

Free PhotoBooth 'school portraits' will capture Cal's diversity

– Remember having your school portrait taken? This Thursday and Friday (April 3 and 4), UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff can experience a unique twist on this annual K-12 ritual at Dwinelle Plaza, where nationally renowned portrait photographer Christopher Irion will be taking casual photographs of members of the campus community, free of charge, and asking each person to briefly put into words what Cal means to them.

Using his traveling PhotoBooth a lightweight, portable studio Irion will produce hundreds of black-and-white portraits for a UC Berkeley project designed to capture the campus's diversity in images and words. All photos taken will appear in a public installation a 72-foot-long community "billboard" to be unveiled on campus next fall.

Banners in front of Dwinelle Hall
Photo banners line Dwinelle Plaza, where portrait photographer Christopher Irion's PhotoBooth will be set up this Thursday and Friday to capture more images of the diversity of UC Berkeley. (Quentin Baker/UC Berkeley photos)
Irion was on campus in January taking early portraits of students, and some of their images and statements about UC Berkeley began appearing this week on 38 large, 5-foot-tall banners hung across campus. They were assembled in time for the University of California's 140th Charter Day, which also will be feted with cupcakes this Friday on Sproul Plaza from noon-1:30 p.m.

"There are many ways to measure the impact of UC Berkeley on the world, but one of the best ways is to let our students, faculty and staff tell the story," said UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for University Relations Scott Biddy. "This is an opportunity to let members of our campus community express themselves, and it is a perfect way to celebrate 140 years of excellence and achievement at Berkeley."

The portrait project is sponsored by University Relations. Any member of the campus community who would like to be photographed should come to the Dwinelle Plaza PhotoBooth on Thursday or Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Each person also will be asked to write a brief sentence, phrase or a few words to describe his or her feelings about UC Berkeley. Words and images will appear together on the giant billboard.

Typically, the photos taken will be of individuals, not of groups. Those who participate will receive a free copy of their portrait.

Irion is a San Francisco-based photographer known for his expressive portrait work using minimal equipment.