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Summer Edition
Volume 99, Number 1

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Student photographers get exposure

Real-world experience for students yields compelling photos for Messiah College publications

Katie Ness
Self-portrait of student photographer
Katie Ness who says, “It’s pretty exciting when you know one of your photos is going to be
used in a piece designed and distributed
by the College.”
K. B. Hoover
Student photographer Katie Ness '08 took this portrait of professor emeritus K. B. Hoover '32 that accompanied his profile in the winter 2007 issue of The Bridge .

Students at Messiah engage in a dizzying variety of activities in a normal week, ranging from the Ducky Derby, which raises money for summer mission and service trips, to the Mustache Basche, a student-organized festival of facial hair. Student photographers, immersed in this broad array of events, possess a unique vantage point from which to take exceptional photographs of the Messiah College experience.

In 2006, Messiah College’s Office of Marketing and Public Relations tapped into this pool of students by organizing a group of talented photographers to document Messiah’s campus life. Stephanie Perry ’99, a graphic designer, prompted by the skillful occasional photography done by work-study students such as Dan Custer ’09, realized the potential of working strategically with students to supplement the photography resources of the Office of Marketing and Public Relations. She recruited students at the Opportunities Fair, an annual exposition of campus organizations and service opportunities, and approximately 50 photographers expressed interest in documenting student life for the College. After receiving sample photographs from interested candidates, Perry evaluated whether a student excelled at indoor or outdoor photography, low-lighting situations, sports photography, or spontaneous photos of other students and asked them to document events which suited their talents.

For Perry, one of the chief benefits of working with student photography is that “it’s so much fun.” When students photograph their friends, the photographs “tend to be more natural,” Perry says, without the formal poses or awkward smiles displayed when a staff member or freelance photographer approaches them for a photograph. Students are also aware of unique opportunities for photographs, in some cases recording events Perry didn’t even know were taking place. Perry also credits student-produced photography with providing a “glimpse into student life from a purely student perspective,” giving prospective students, parents, and alumni an authentic idea of Messiah College campus life.  

Student photographs now appear in publications such as the Office of Marketing and Public Relations 2007 calendar, comprised entirely of student-taken photos, as well as major publications like The Bridge, that has a readership of over 26,000. Katie Ness ’08, an art major with a graphic design concentration, loves photographing people, “trying to capture a feeling, mood, or event.” She also knows that the real-world opportunities offered by the Office of Marketing and Public Relations will help her portfolio and résumé. “I've really appreciated that the print and web communications staff has given students a chance to contribute to the College's publications,” she says, “it’s pretty exciting when you know one of your photos is going to be used in a piece designed and distributed by the College.”

Mackenzie Martin '08

Gender is no issue at the annual Mustache Basche where guys and gals alike sport fantastic 'staches.

Mustache Basche

Photo by Elizabeth Kula '10


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