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Pediatric cancer patients' Shutterbugs photo exhibit a success

Kids with cancer find an artistic outlet and

Kids with cancer find an artistic outlet and boost their confidence through the Pablove Shutterbugs, a 5-week photography program held at Stony Brook University. (Credit: Raychel Brightman)

Talia Schandel knows a cute kid when she sees one. And if it's her little sister Hannah, 7, the camera starts clicking. That's what happened on a fall day in 2014, and months later the image was part of a June 3 exhibit in Stony Brook to benefit a pediatric cancer foundation.

Last fall and this past spring, the California-based nonprofit Pablove Foundation expanded its Shutterbugs program -- a five-week course on photography -- to the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. The students' work was exhibited there, with proceeds funding future Shutterbugs programs.

The 27 photographs were displayed as 11 x 14 prints and cost $105 each. Schandel, 14,said she wasn't nervous about the exhibit, but she did wonder how Hannah's image would be received.

"I saw a lot of people had landscapes, flowers," Schandel said. "No one had a lot of people in their photos, and I thought mine would stand out. But there were a lot of people there and they responded well to it, and that made me happy."

Jessica Rotkiewicz, a multimedia producer for Newsday and an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University who taught the Shutterbugs sessions, said the students were ecstatic when they saw their pictures on display and when they learned they could keep their gallery print.

"They said they felt like accomplished artists, that it felt like a real art show," she said.

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