Pulitzer Prize winner to visit campus, present featured project

The gallery in Mass Media is prepared for Renée Byer’s photo gallery from her project, “Living on a Dollar a Day” on Monday, Feb. 13 before it’s opening this Thursday, Feb. 16. Byer will be speaking about her gallery at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the MMTH auditorium.

Kathryn Ziesig

A Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist will be speaking at WKU about worldwide poverty and her photo project “Living on a Dollar a Day” on Thursday.

Renée C. Byer, a documentary photojournalist, will display her work from the project in the Mass Media and Technology Hall gallery from Feb. 16 until April 28.

According to The Forgotten International website, over one billion people live on less than a dollar a day. The Forgotten International, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, sent Byer to 10 countries on four continents to document people living in such poverty.

“Now as a professional eye witness to the world, I try to show a side of life that people may not have seen before,” Byer said during her TEDxTokyo talk in 2009.

Photojournalism professor Tim Broekema said WKU is the first university to be displaying Byer’s gallery, and he and Byer both hope the gallery will become a teaching tool for faculty, students and the community.

“She’s a true believer in education,” Broekema said of Byer. “It’s not about her, it’s about the people in her pictures that matter to her and the stories that she documents, she wants people to see them.”

Tyler Sanders, WKU student and gallery manager of MMTH, said he has always liked working in the gallery because it has given him the chance learn new things and bring that information to others.

“This gallery in specific has the chance to inform people about many of the problems happening in the world,” Sanders said. “The topics this show covers are very heavy and the photos only make the issues more prominent.”

Broekema said the gallery will be interactive through the use of the mobile web application, YouBridge.It, developed by A Fourth Act.

According to the A Fourth Act website, YouBridge.It will allow gallery visitors to interact with the photos as they stand in front of them in the gallery.

Broekema said by using YouBridge.It,  visitors will be able to hear Byer talk about each photo in depth and be connected to organizations working to help fight each issue. There will be 10 categories of issues featured on display for visitors to make donations towards using the web application.

The gallery opening will begin with a reception in the MMTH Atrium at 6 p.m. on Thursday followed by Byer’s lecture in the auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The reception and lecture are free and open to the public; the lecture is a swipable event. 

Reporter Kathryn Ziesig can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]