Thursday, May 29, 2008

Student named finalist in photography contest

By Courtney Westlake

When Sue Huskins was involved in an accident at work that left her without the use of her right hand in 1999, she was forced to quit her job at a print shop. She took that opportunity to go to college, first receiving her associates degree from Richland Community College in Decatur and now working toward her bachelors at UIS.

"That's where I found photography, and I love it; it's my passion," she said.

At UIS, Huskins is majoring in visual arts with a focus on photography, which she studies under professor of communication Michael Duvall. It was after one of Duvall's classes that Huskins noticed a brochure for the 28th Annual Student Photography Contest.

And from among the more than 4,000 students who entered this year's contest, Huskins was selected as a finalist in the competition, and her photo titled "Repetition in Glass" will be published in the "Best of College Photography Annual 2008."

"I just happened to find the flyer for the competition in Professor Duvall's lab and just thought I'd try; it doesn't hurt to try," she said. "I was very surprised. I was hoping to be at least maybe recognized a little bit, but I never dreamed I'd make it in the top five percent."

Huskins captured her "Repetition in Glass" photograph while on a trip to Chicago.

"My friend and I went on bus trip to Chicago, but instead of going to the art museum we were supposed to go to, we spent the whole day downtown looking for shots that we liked. We drug each other all around the town," she said. "I like reflections, I like using the camera to get odd angles. And I like to get every day items that people see but pass by and don't really recognize."

Because her accident left her without the use of her dominant hand, Huskins must hold her camera differently than most people to capture her images.

"Since the shutter release button is located on the right side of the camera, I cannot use it in the normal position. When using a camera, I turn it upside down, resting it on the top of my bad hand," Huskins said. "Doing it this way, it leaves my left hand free to manually focus and set the shutter speed and the aperture. It also puts the shutter release button on the left side on the bottom where it is easily accessible with my left thumb."

Huskins said she decided to come to UIS because of its close proximity to Decatur and due to all of the positive things she had heard about and read about UIS. Eventually, she said, she'd like to continue her education and pursue a master's degree.

"I'd like to do freelance photography but also maybe teach photography in a community college setting," she said.