Senior Marquise Pointer stands in front of his senior thesis hung along the wall of the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts. Six photographs of three student-athletes in uniform and in civilian clothes comprise his work.
“I wanted to show those in the art side and those who may not know much about sports the hard work and the sacrifice of these student-athletes,” says Pointer. “Many times after we get out of practice, we have to go straight to class or straight to weight lifting. We have to give up the down time that regular students have.”
He’s most inspired by Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work this semester, and it’s seen in his photos with the student-athletes in a spotlight view, surrounded by dark. The student-athletes featured in the portraits include men’s basketball forward-center Osinachi Smart; women’s soccer player Raymara Barreto; and volleyball right side Kennedy Madison.
In each image they are in their own world, yet revered by the light – a duality Pointer understands well.
Pointer knows the effort and hours of hard work that student-athletes put in because he lives that double life, too. The studio art major and business minor also happens to be a point guard for the College of Charleston men’s basketball team. Last season he helped lead the Cougars to the 2018 Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championship. For him, both photography and basketball are his greatest passions, and he finds it wonderful that he gets to share one side of his world with the other.
“It’s really cool that I to get to share stories about art and stories about the performance of basketball,” he says.
Pointer says he has sometimes gotten the feeling that other athletes think it’s odd for a basketball player to also have a dedication in fine art photography, but his CofC teammates have always been supportive. In fact, he invites many of his student-athlete peers to sit for him in his studio and the results are always well received.
“I’ve played basketball ever since I could pick up a ball,” says Pointer.
He didn’t take on the role of photographer until his senior year of high school when his AP art teacher took notice of Pointer’s phone photography and decided to put a camera in his hands.
“It just sort of took off from there,” he recalls.
After graduation, Pointer says he would be happy to go in either direction – basketball or photography. He says it would be an honor to continue either of his passions into a career.
See Pointer’s work on his Instagram account or on the basketball court.
Featured image: Marquise Pointer in a CofC photography studio. (Photo by Heather Moran)