UW Today

January 19, 2011

Images from Photography Certificate Program on display at UW Tower

News and Information

  • Opening reception for the Photography Certificate Program exhibit is 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, on the mezzanine level of UW Tower.
  • Find information about the Photography Certificate Program.

When graduates of the UWs Photography Certificate Program offer an exhibit of their work in the UW Tower beginning Jan. 21, two UW staffers will be among the proud participants. And a third will be cheering them on.

From left, LuAnne Armstrong, Tara Brown and Tess Brown are three UW employees who just graduated from the UW Photography Certificate Program. | Photo by Mary Levin.

From left, LuAnne Armstrong, Tara Brown and Tess Brown are three UW employees who just graduated from the UW Photography Certificate Program. | Photo by Mary Levin.

Tara Brown, the recognition program and events coordinator for UW Medical Center, and LuAnne Armstrong, a fiscal specialist for the Department of Radiology, both have pieces in the show. Tess Brown, a registered nurse at the UW Medical Center, is also a graduate of the program but chose not to participate in the exhibit. They are among 13 program graduates.

None of the three has a job that specifically calls for photography skills, and they each pursued the certificate program, which is part of Professional and Continuing Education, for different reasons.

Armstrong has been an avid photographer for many years, and said she wanted to take the program for personal growth and to sharpen her skills. Her passion for photography began in high school, and she feels her interests of shooting sports, landscapes and portraiture reveals her creative side.

“With so much new technology in recent years, I wanted to learn how to use it,” Armstrong said. “It was great to get back in the darkroom, but one of my goals was to try to become more skilled with digital media. It was a great program.”

'Seattle Blues,' by Tara Brown.

Tara Brown, on the other hand, is interested in starting her own photography business. She said she grew up having fun with a 35 millimeter camera her mother gave her, and then had a digital point and shoot that she used in high school and college.

“I didnt get my hands on a digital SLR camera until two years ago,” Brown said. “One of my friends had one and I started playing around with it. It felt very empowering; it made me feel more artistic with my work, more deliberate with my photography.”

Of the program she said, “I wanted to see if I could get better and get on the track of starting a business of my own. I thought the program would teach me a lot of things about my camera that I didnt know and also help build a community.”

Tess Brown was much more of a newcomer to photography, and pursued the class for reasons connected to her role as a nurse.

“When a patient is sick and you walk into their room, sometimes you get that little window when they ask you questions that are outside of what theyre dealing with,” she said. “I wanted to be able to speak of other interests in that window of time. Photography is one of those interests.”

Brown said she entered the program with almost no previous experience in photography. “I find taking photographs is a way to relieve stress through self expression,” she said. But she chose not to participate in the exhibit because “I am waiting to show a more inspired body of work.”

Armstrong has four framed pieces in the show, each with two photos. All were taken in the forest on the Olympic Peninsula. Tara Brown has 16 pieces, most of which are cityscapes in the Seattle area.

Capturing the light was an important thing to LuAnne Armstrong as she photographed in the forest.

Capturing the light was an important thing to LuAnne Armstrong as she photographed in the forest.

All three staffers spoke highly of the program. Armstrong got that experience with computer programs that she was looking for, but she also got a community.

“I have to say the neatest part of the program was the fact you had 12 other people going the same direction as you, and wanting to shoot photos and do it together,” she said. “Weve been keeping in touch since classes ended. I introduced them to the UW Photographers Group that I was already a member of. Through the program I got a whole new community of people I didnt have before.”

Tara Brown echoed Armstrongs sentiments, adding that she particularly appreciated hearing professional photographers who came as guest speakers.

“One of the speakers owns a studio in Greenwood and we had a show there one night in December,” she said. “It was just one night. Each of us had space to put a few pieces up, so that was really neat, to have some people from the public view our show. Ive since kept in touch with that person, who allows outside people to use the studio for their own stuff — to rent it.”

Tess Brown said she learned a lot about herself in the program.

“I think I learned more about who I am in terms of my commitment and how determined I can be, against all odds because I didnt have any background at all,” she said. “It was a very steep learning curve. But I wanted a challenge for that other side of me — the artsy side — and I got it!”

She said she chose photography because “I like to capture a moment. There are certain images that can only be captured by a camera because its quick and it can give you that depth and then you have it.”

Tara Brown agreed. “I think that just being able to capture moments that are only there for a split second, that are not noticeable just watching them with the naked eye — thats whats really special about photography,” she said. She added that she likes to experiment with different perspectives. “I like to shoot while lying on my belly on the ground or Ill just fling my camera sideways and see what I get.”

Armstrong said that in the beginning of the program, she wasnt sure where she was going with her photography. “Wed bring pictures every week, and I was shooting this and that, but in the end, my work showed me that its the light that draws me. Its the quality of light. I see this beautiful light and I want to try to record it as close as I can to what I saw.”

The photography exhibit is on the mezzanine level of UW Tower through March 15. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21.