Last Friday seniors in Associate Professor of Photography Patrick Manning’s advanced photography class, presented their final projects in their art show: “If you don’t know the population of rats in an area, you don’t know anything…” 

The show showcased artwork exploring themes of technology, identity and familial ties. The Daily Lobo had the opportunity to get to know five of the ten seniors that presented their work at the show. 

Manning said that the students in his class made him feel like a passenger for the semester. 

"I guess for this particular group of students, the thing I was very impressed by was that they were all very self driven," Manning said. "It felt like I was a passenger. They were all very good about working together to produce the show."

Leila Murrieta 

“I’ve been making art probably my whole life. I got in to photography at a really young age, nothing really serious, just pointing my camera at flowers and stuff. I got really serious in high school when I started taking photo classes and my photography teachers started pushing me more. It turned into more of a serious thing when I came to college. I didn’t want to do it as a degree type thing, but then I switched because biology was making me sad. I draw a lot of inspiration from my experiences growing up, my community back in Tucson, Arizona and being a dual citizen from Mexico and the United States.”

Nicholas Aragon 

“I started creating in middle school and going into high school. That’s where my love for photography started. I joined the school yearbook club and I started photography classes then. I think, as far as inspiration, I draw from my community as a whole, and as a queer person... I draw a lot from that. Identity based work is just huge for me.”

Maryssa Rose Chavez 

“From a pretty young age I was pretty in to art and being creative but it wasn’t until high school that I picked up a camera — it was my mom’s old digital camera — and I started taking pictures of my friends. It was honestly more of a an ‘oh, I’m making commercial work’ so I came to UNM not thinking I needed an art degree. But, then I took one photo class, and it changed my life. It was impactful for me to grow and to have a community of people who support you in your artistic practice — that’s where I stem my work from. Oh, and also from my community back in Española, New Mexico.”

Crystal Montanez 

“I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. I know that I got really into photography in high school. I draw inspiration a lot from my family and my experiences from them. I also draw inspiration from outside places. It’s the experiences I have in life in general that inspire my work. What I’m mostly interested in, is family-based memories and the personal aspect.”

Samuel Katz 

“I’ve been creating since I was about sixteen, so four years now, but it’s finally coming to fruition. I’m glad to be done, and I’m really excited to have the time to work on my stuff post grad. As for inspiration, I draw a lot from my grandmother. She passed away two years ago, and the way genes skip generations is a really big interest of mine. I am who I am because of her. More so, I’d say, than my parents. So, she’s a big inspiration for what I like to do.”

Other seniors that presented work include Sarah Ausherman , Lisa Ealy, Cynthia Lee, Katherine Overton and Stephanie Vargas. The exhibit will be open until May 26 at Gallery 606 (606 Broadway Boulevard Southeast).

Luisa Pennington is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @_lpennington_.