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McPherson College Student Photographer Lands First Award for College in Five-State Exhibition

posted Dec 06, 2012 in ACADEMICS

A McPherson College student earned a landmark award in the 29th annual Five-State Photography Exhibition in Hays, Kan.

While MC students have consistently had work accepted Casey Maxon, senior, Lawrence, Kan., became the first MC student to receive any of the juried exhibition's 12 awards when he took home a Juror's Merit Award. Maxon won out over about 500 professional photographers living in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nebraska to make this achievement. A second photo was also accepted to the exhibition.

"I didn't expect both to make it in, and I certainly didn't expect the Juror's Merit," Maxon said. "I'm definitely proud of it because I worked really hard to get it ready."

The photograph that took Juror's Merit – called "Tucked In" – depicts an antique vehicle at a show, wrapped in a translucent plastic sheet to protect it for the night. The second photograph shows detail of a 1970s-era "chopper" motorcycle, revealing dirt, dust and imperfections.

Maxon said he liked capturing images of cars in moments where they aren't "on display."

"I like to capture different aspects of cars at the show and catch them in a different light," he said.

Maxon, who will graduate this spring from the college's one-of-a-kind four-year automotive restoration program, said he would like to make a career out of photographing collector cars. It's a career path that wouldn't have been open to him without the college's entrepreneurship program – called "Freedom to Jump" – and help from professors and staff at the college.

The college's Horizon Fund – a micro-grant fund of up to $500 at McPherson College to help its students explore a great idea – helped Maxon purchase a digital camera and photography equipment to start his business, called "Cacklefest Photography."

Then while he was working at a summer internship for the world's largest insurer of collector vehicles, Hagerty Insurance, the skills developed from Cacklefest Photography opened the door for Maxon to travel with the Historic Vehicle Association to classic car shows across the country, putting his photography skills to use.

Ann Zerger, assistant professor of art, helped Casey broaden his skills with mentoring, with a borrowed old-fashioned 4x5 format film camera, and with use of the college's darkroom.

"I think it's telling to see that I would not have been doing this were it not for the Horizon Fund and all the other support I received," Maxon said.

Maxon's work will be on display in the Five-State Exhibition at the Hays Arts Council through the end of January.

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