Social Silhouettes by Francesca Shaw

One Friday afternoon toward the end of the spring semester, I stopped by the Union gallery to check out the senior art projects. Francesca Shaw’s Social Silhouettes series caught my eye, and she gave us permission to bring you one of her pieces (seen above) on the opening spread of the summer 2013 issue of Wagner Magazine.

Francesca’s biography caught my eye as well: She was born in Talca, Chile; raised in Providence, Rhode Island, “where she built sandcastles and survived off of coffee milk for 15 years”; and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, for high school.

“All through elementary school,” the biography goes on, “Francesca gravitated towards her art classes, which were much more fun than fractions and spelling tests.” She was also fascinated with cameras, and received her first digital camera for Christmas when she was only 9 years old.

An art major at Wagner, Francesca studied abroad for a semester of her junior year at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, Australia. Back at Wagner, her senior art project developed from a photo shoot with a friend. She went on to photograph many more friends, asking for them “to pose with forms of movement.” These became her silhouettes. (She herself is the middle silhouette.) She incorporated more than 70 photographs into the silhouettes, many taken and edited using Instagram.

“My intention for intermixing the different kinds of photography was to relate to how much influence popular social media has on our society,” she wrote in her artist’s statement. What I liked about her pictures was not only the technological commentary, but also the joyful and effortless poses of the silhouetted people.

Speaking of social media, are you following us? In the Office of Communications, we are making more efforts to integrate our print publications and our social media channels. Let’s keep in contact between issues and find ways to talk about this magazine’s content. Go to and hit the “like” button, and follow us on Twitter, where we’re @WagnerCollege. You can also get a regular diet of Wagner College images through our Instagram account, @WagnerCollege.


 — Laura Barlament, Editor, Wagner Magazine

Summer 2013