Coinciding with football season, the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County is presenting a collection of photographs of fans attending Penn State games in Beaver Stadium during the late 1990s and early 2000s. “We Are: A View from the Field,” features photographs by Gerald Lang.
According to the museum, the exhibit, which will be featured in September and October, vividly displays the excitement, joy and, sometimes, disappointment of fans in 36 photographs.
The images, from the Penn State Digital Studio Archive, were created when digitalization was in its infancy.
In 1996, Lang founded Penn State's digital photography program in the College of Arts and Architecture, embracing then-revolutionary changes and contributing to the spread of the digital world now taken for granted. Lang confronted the challenge that digital photography methods were not easily accepted in university photography courses.
Creating visibility was essential to the support of this new program. Lang found a partner in his pursuit to bring digitalization to the world of sports photography in Sue Paterno, an avid student who enrolled in many photography classes, including the first digital class taught by Lang.
Paterno arranged for Lang to photograph the action along the sidelines during home games, helping Lang acquire and test the technical capacity of the new digital technology. This gave Lang and his students a side-by-side photojournalist experience with the new equipment and methods of creating photographs.
“I am so pleased to be asked to show my photographs of fans," said Lang when asked about the exhibit. "Searching for the photographs gave me a flood of memories. I remember the extraordinary roars and focus of the fans' enthusiasm, and from my vantage point inside the bowl of the stadium they caught my attention and I turned my camera to the crowds.”