sophomore from Malaysia, Szetho Shan had
never taken a photography course before enrolling in SC’s one-hour
class. Her digital photography shows her innate talent and earned her
a spot on the second cover of
this issue of The Southwesterner.
first thing instructor Tod Megredy noticed about the photographs of Megan
McClellan, Wichita freshman, was her sophisticated ability to find a
unique viewpoint. She’s now a student photographer in the communications
an accomplished watercolorist, Sarah Jrab, sophomore from Yukon, Okla.,
brings an artist’s eye to her photography. Her exhibition at College
Hill Coffee in Winfield will continue through March.
feature marks the first of a series that will focus on learning at
Southwestern College. SC professors take pride in knowing that their
students learn not only in the classroom, but as part of the community
that is Southwestern. Syllabus will focus on those classes where learning
is part of a lifestyle.
Photography Comes Into Focus at Southwestern
Tod Megredy only has two rules for the student photographers he mentors
at Southwestern College.
The first rule is that sometimes a photographer has to get into the silliest
positions to take a really good picture. The second is that the resulting photograph
should show something in a way it hasn’t been seen before.
If photographers follow these rules, whether they’re amateurs or professionals,
Megredy says, they’ll come up with something special.
And by following these rules, students in Megredy’s Introduction to Photography
class and in a new interest group he’s organizing for student photographers
are learning to tell photo stories.
“ My approach to teaching photography is that it’s about storytelling,’” Megredy
says. “The word ‘photography’ means ‘writing with light,’ so
whether it’s shooting pictures of a wedding, or a traffic accident, or
your cat, you have to be telling a story about what you’re shooting.”
As a first-year faculty member at SC, Megredy brings a depth of experience
unusual to small colleges. His journalism degree from the University of Kansas
has a photojournalism emphasis, and he has more than 20 years experience as
a professional photojournalist. In addition to his work at editor of the Winfield
Courier, Megredy has shot for the Associated Press, United Press International,
the Washington Post, and other prestigious organizations.
So when he became the principal journalism instructor last fall, he knew he
wanted to continue to use his photography expertise. A one-hour course now
available (with 21 enrollments this spring) will be expanded to include two
two-hour courses in the fall of 2004, one course emphasizing traditional film
photography and the second course developing skills with digital cameras. The
new emphasis will dovetail with the new communications major which has an option
for digital arts.
He’s organizing a photography interest group that will bring these talented
photographers together to discuss their art, as well as to take trips to examine
the best work in their field.
Megredy already has been impressed by the skills his students have brought
to his class. Some students have had outstanding high school instructors to
nurture their natural abilities; others have innate talents that surface quickly.
Still, he believes Southwestern is an excellent place for budding photographers
“ If a student comes to SC with an interest in photography, that student
can expect to shoot a lot of pictures. It’s an art that takes a lot of
practice,” Megredy says. “Then I try to find them work to do. Megan
(McClellan) couldn’t believe she was getting paid to do photography when
she began working in the communications office, and we were able to set Sarah
(Jrab) up to do a commercial shoot in town.”
So Megredy is pushing photography at Southwestern. It’s a field, he says,
that’s ready to come into focus.
Photos by Sarah Jrab (left), Szetho
Shan (top), and Megan McClellan (right
Story by Sara Severance Weinert. Student photographer portraits by Sunni