Looking Past the Surface of Pictures
Friday evening I had the pleasure to attend this year's Armsby Honor Society dinner at the Penn Stater Hotel. At events like these I see first hand the support and commitment to our college by friends and alumni that reflect not only academic experiences but the vital network of professional friendships that last a lifetime. When someone asks me why their son or daughter should come to Penn State I think of these activities which don't appear in recruiting materials and are really hard to quantify.
The picture above looks innocuous but reflects a connection of academics and career for me. The photograph of the horses was made by Gerald Lang, professor emeritus of Integrative Arts at Penn State, and a member of my graduate committee when I was in school. Years ago Jerry began working on a project photographing horses in the college's herd as well as others. A series of his exceptional images made with a big wooden camera are on permanent display at the Penn Stater. His love of horses also led to creation of the book The Horse: Photographic Images, 1839 to the Present. His work continued into the digital age as was documented in Research Penn State.
There's more to the picture though. The three people in the picture from left to right are College of Ag Sciences Alumni Society president Nelson Loftus, Don Ace, retired Dairy Extension faculty member, and his wife Lil. When I think of the best photography assignments I have had the pleasure to undertake I always think of Don. As is the case with many faculty members their expertise reaches beyond their day-to-day work. Don is the author of the famous Penn State publication Winemaking as a Hobby. This 89-page revised book explains wine grape species and varieties, equipment and chemicals, other ingredients, and processes for producing wine at home. Recipes for most wines are provided. When the book was updated and required new photographs I was able to travel with Don to wineries in the Erie area and see some magnificent sites. And sample some wine in the process. I asked Don when he was going to do another update and he says it's being considered. It was only right that I volunteered to help.
There is always more to a picture than meets the eye.