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Alexandra Gelber bought her first camera, a Minolta X-370, when she was a student at Cornell University in the early 1990s. “Walking up the stairs to the art library one day near the end of my freshman year in college, I noticed a flyer on the wall advertising an old Minolta for sale, along with wide-angle and zoom lenses, a flash and a camera bag. It seemed like a good deal, so I tore the flyer down and planned to call later that day,” Gelber explains. “I had no idea what I was doing; the camera could have been nothing more than a worthless piece of metal for all I knew. Everything seemed OK when I inspected it, so I made out the check, bought the camera, and thus began my photography career. I have replaced some of the accessories, but I still use the same Minolta today.” Today an associate at the Washington, D.C., office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in the general appellate and litigation practice groups, the 28-year-old Gelber has made good use of her old manual camera. It traveled with her to Paris during her junior year at college, when she lived and toured in Europe for eight months. And she took it and another camera along with her during a nine-week tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and Tibet in September and October 2000. Twenty-one of the photos she took on that trip are now on display at the University Club at 1135 16th St., N.W., in Washington, D.C., and will remain there until March 2 in an exhibition entitled “A View From the Unbeaten Path: Portraits of Southeast Asia and Tibet.” “I had decided to travel to Southeast Asia, Nepal and Tibet because I wanted to go someplace unlike anywhere I had been before, and I wanted to challenge myself by going outside my comfort zone,” Gelber says, adding, “I was struck by the stubbornness of survival. The will to live, even in the most inhospitable of circumstances, was unyielding.” Gelber brought her portfolio to the attention of the University Club at the suggestion of a friend she met while taking a continuing education photography class at Georgetown University — the only photo class that she has ever taken. While this exhibition is Gelber’s first solo show, she has displayed her work before. After acquiring a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1999, she clerked for the late Judge Roger Andewalt on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. During her clerkship, she and a colleague hung some of their photos in the judge’s chambers. “That week was the most stressed I ever was my entire clerkship,” Gelber admits.

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