PSU represented in prestigious photo competition 

  Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:30 AM
  News, Academics, People and Society, Alumni

Pittsburg, KS

GIT students

Pittsburg State student Audrey Dainty, a junior from Frontenac, Kansas, is still pinching herself. 

From a field of 601 images submitted by 103 photographers across the nation to PhotoSpivaDainty’s photo— called “Troubled Psyche” — was one of 88 chosen to be part of the prestigious exhibit.  

Seven other images chosen for the exhibit also were from the PSU Graphics and Imaging Technologies Department: three by current students (Tara Blagg of Caney, Kansas; Anne Wood of Kearney, Missouri, and Alex Gourlay, of Topeka, Kansas), three by alumni (Derek Livingston ‘17, Jaydon Wilson '18, and Maisie Johnson '18), and one by faculty member Rion Huffman. 

Their work is on display next to professional photographers from coast to coast.  

Spiva Wood

"Wheat" by Anne Wood

Spiva Gourlay

"Gatoriffic" by Alex Gourlay

“It is surreal to have been chosen,” Dainty said. “It’s not only a highly-renowned photo competition and exhibit, but also the longest running in the nation." 

The exhibit opened in the Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, Missouri, with a reception Friday night. 

 “To have any students accepted is amazing, let alone to have the department represented by 11 percent of the total images in the gallery,” Huffman said.  

Dainty credits her achievement to the support of the GIT program and its faculty, including Huffman, who encouraged her.  

Spiva Huffman

"A Quiet Moment" by Rion Huffman

Huffman started entering the competition three years ago with just one student and himself; they both were chosen, and Huffman won first place overall. 

Last year, 11 images were accepted from PSU GIT — three by Huffman, four by Alex Gourlay, two by Andy Grotheer, and two by alumnus Derek Livingston.  

Huffman said it’s important for students to enter such competitions. 

“They get to prove themselves against a national field of photographers,” he said. “Our students create amazing work, but sometimes they don't have enough confidence in what they have created. Getting into a national gallery not only serves as a confidence booster, but it helps their portfolio and grows their network through others taking notice of their work while it's on display. 

He typically sees a change in students that win competitions.  

They become hungry to win again and they pour even more effort into their work, even when it might have seemed that they were already giving 100 percent. They do not settle for good enough because they know that their competition does not settle, either,” Huffman said. 

Spiva Dainty

"Troubled Psyche" by Audrey Dainty

Gourlay, a senior who plans to work as a product photographer for a marketing firm after earning a master’s degree, said he was honored to have a photo chosen for the second year. 

“It really gives a chance to showcase not only our own work but also showcase to the community just how talented GIT students are and how talented our department is as a whole,” he said. 

Dainty, who plans to pursue a career as a graphic designer, said her experience in GIT has inspired a second career goal. 

“Thanks to the amazing professors who have impacted me here at PSU, I would love to work towards becoming a graphics professorso that I may have the opportunity to impact students' lives like my professors have done for me,” she said. 

PhotoSpiva is on display until May 10 at Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. 3rd St., Joplin, Missouri. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 GIT is part of the College of Technology. Learn more:

Spiva Blagg

"American Pastime" by Tara Blagg