The award-winning photograph of the mechanical engineering major on display at the New York City exhibit

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As an artist and engineering student, Eric Dillner ’25 is inspired by his curiosity for how the world works. His photograph is now part of an exhibition in the Bronx, and he hopes his work will inspire others to rethink the way they view everyday objects.

September 30, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Eric Dillner ’25 with “SixSquares”.
“Yellow” by Eric Dillner ’25.

When Eric Dillner ’25 walks down the street, he pays special attention to shapes and angles. He notices details such as symmetry and imperfections in his surroundings. He is curious and eager to know how everything works.

A mechanical engineering graduate, Dillner says he sees the world a little differently. Award-winning artist, his curiosity and perspective inform his work as an engineer and inspire his passion for photography. His work, SixSquares, gained national recognition and is now on display at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York.

“It means everything to me to have my art in the Bronx Documentary Center,” he said. “It’s an incredible opportunity because it opens doors for my work to be featured in future exhibitions and strengthens my fire for photography. My goal is for my photos to give off a feeling that everyone can interpret in their own way through forms and composition.

“SixSquares” by Eric Dillner ’25.
“I wanted to push the limits …”

Dillner’s work has been recognized at the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, winning a Gold Key in the Connecticut area and a Silver medal nationally. He was one of less than 200 students selected to have their work presented in the exhibition. The awards celebrate the creativity of adolescents, both locally and nationally, and the winners – such as Dillner – can also be chosen for scholarships, exhibitions and publications.

“Mossy Chain” by Eric Dillner ’25.

Dillner’s SixSquares is a photogram (a photographic image taken without a camera by placing objects directly on the surface of a photosensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light) featuring recycled waste from the 3d printing. Dillner laid out the plastic pieces on light-sensitive photographic paper, then exposed it to the light several times to create the right half of his work. He then made a reverse copy of the original, creating what he calls a “yin and yang effect”.

“I wanted to push the limits of the photogram technique because it is generally considered to be basic,” he explains. “My goal was to elevate the style of technique.”

Experienced with digital macro photography, Dillner says SixSquares was his first experience with darkroom photography. He also focused on rusting and decaying objects in his work, and he dabbled in welding and creating metal sculptures. Now considering a minor in photography, he hopes to produce more SixSquares-style art.

“I love to take the world’s lost and forgotten items and give them new light,” he said. “I want to make people think of even the most forgotten object. It can be amazing if you look at it just the right way. ”


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