u'Photo courtesy Kevin Connolly'

u'Photo courtesy Kevin Connolly'

By Allison Milton/The AS Review

Twenty-four-year-old Kevin Connolly was born without legs, but this did not stop Connolly, an outdoor enthusiast, from traveling around the world. Using his transportation of choice, his skateboard, he traveled the world with his camera in hand to document one of the most common expressions: the stare.

Connolly visited 15 countries and 31 cities and captured more than 32,000 stares on film.

From Monday, Feb. 1 to Friday, Feb 19, the AS Social Issues Resource Center (SIRC) and AS Productions VU Gallery will host “The Rolling Exhibit,” featuring a selection of photographs Connolly has taken of stares. The gallery will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the duration of the exhibit, which is free.

Connolly would look the other way so that the person in front of the camera would not realize that Connolly was aware of their stare. Because he wasn’t looking into the lens or at the subject behind the photograph, he would guess where the subject was in the frame, resulting in a variety of angles, Brittany Otter, outreach coordinator of the SIRC, said. Each photograph that Connolly took was shot with his camera at his hip so that the person staring at him in the lens had no idea they were being photographed.

“He realized that he could use stares to tell people how he feels,” Otter said. “Everyone is going to be stared at in some way in their life. The question is, why?”

“He captures the instinct people have to stare unconsciously,” said Allie Paul, VU Gallery Coordinator. “It’s a unique thing to get that perspective and that candidness.”

At 7 p.m. on Feb. 4, a reception will be held in the VU Gallery, where Connolly’s memoir “Double Take” will be on sale. His book, which is also available at the AS Bookstore, tells the story of his journey around the world, his thoughts on the photographs and the stories of the people behind them, Otter said. Quotes from his memoir will be on display, accompanying 15 prints in the gallery show.

“The concept that he’s talking about [in his book] is staring and not that he doesn’t have any legs,” Otter said.

Paul said the exhibit is different from the kind of shows that the gallery usually hosts.

“We always like to have a diverse range of exhibitions that apply to different people on campus,” she said. “We’re addressing a community that we don’t [often] … in art and we wanted to take advantage of that.”

AS club Students for Disability Awareness will host an open discussion about the issues that these photographs bring up and the meaning behind stares. The discussion will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in the VU Gallery. This discussion is free.

For more information about Connolly, check out his Web site at
www.kevinmichaelconnolly.com.