Inside looking out

Photography students capture the view from their windows.

Did you hear the one about the Monmouth photography students who were stuck inside because of a quarantine? They all snapped—photos, that is.

For sophomore computer science major Michelle Chis, the Monmouth “M” that hangs in her window serves as a sad reminder that she can’t come to campus these days.

With classes being taught virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with much of society practicing social distancing, Specialist Professor of Photography Mark Ludak ’81 had his students point their cameras and phones out their windows to document what the world looks like to many during this unique moment in time. The students presented their work in compelling digital stories, several of which are linked to below.

Windows have long served as a metaphor for separation, Ludak said, and the feeling of isolation is unavoidable in the students’ photos. Their work “gives a good sense of what they are going through right now,” Ludak said.

Jenna Capitelli, a third-year graphic design major who is minoring in photography, said she was intrigued by the idea of exploring isolation through photography, but she also wanted to focus “on the idea of hope and productivity.”

“I felt that the use of black and white gave a grim effect to my photos, so I wanted to counteract the somber filter with as much beauty I could find with my limited surroundings,” Capitelli said.

Photo: Jenna Capitelli

Lexy Karykous, a sophomore graphic design major, was another student who shot in black and white, something she said she normally doesn’t do.

“I’m a very colorful person—even my hair is blue,” Karykous said. But a monochrome approach felt “most appropriate for the mood” of her photos, she added.

One student who shot in color was biology major Mehdi Husaini. “I wanted to highlight the natural light of the room I chose to be my subject and really focus on some unique details, like objects important to my family or used to decorate the space,” he said.

Husaini, a senior, said he misses the face-to-face interaction that comes with in-person instruction. “One of the main reasons I chose Monmouth was because of the strong relationships we build in classroom and extracurricular environments based on individual interactions,” he said. But he commended his professors for continuing to make things meaningful during this shift to virtual learning.

“Monmouth’s faculty have really made an incredible effort to be transparent and engaging, to show that students can benefit from the school’s nurturing learning environment at home as well,” Husaini said.

Monmouth magazine wants to know how you’re documenting this moment in time. Please consider sharing your photos, artwork, or writings related to how life has changed for you during the COVID-19 pandemic by emailing us at Some works might be featured in our summer issue.