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Hawkeye-trained photographers show best at Waterloo museum

posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 in  College News

By: Meta Hemenway-Forbes, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO—Grit. Comfort. Joy. Wonder. Beauty.

Iowa is all of these things and more, and the Grout Museum is celebrating that in a new exhibit opening Tuesday, "Portraits of Iowa."

"It's city and rural and everything in between," said Robin Venter, curator for the Grout. "The photos are of Iowans in everyday life. Musicians, barbers, a young couple getting engaged, a soldier returning home and seeing his baby for the first time, farmers. We have some really interesting photos, and I learned a lot along the way."

The exhibit, a joint effort with the Hawkeye Community College professional photography program, was two years in the making. The more-than-60 photos in the exhibit were shot by current and former students of the program as well as instructors.

"That program has been around for 47 years and is very well known around the country for turning out top-notch photographers," Venter said.

HCC photography instructor Dan Nierling said students who graduate from the program leave at "the level of a working professional. You don't like to blow your own horn often, but the program has been an incredible hidden gem over the years." Nierling is a former Courier photo editor.

Nierling, Venter and others on the project committee put out a call two years ago for HCC photography students and alumni to submit photos for the exhibit. Response was slow at first. But they ended with more than 60 photos, including submissions from Courier Photo Editor Matthew Putney and Courier Staff Photographers Brandon Pollock, Tiffany Rushing and Courtney Collins, all of whom are HCC photography graduates.

"Hawkeye's photographers, they are so pervasive it's ridiculous," Nierling said. "There weren't a lot of weak photos."

"Portraits of Iowa" is sponsored by American Color Imaging, which provided the printing and framing, and Funtique Questers Chapter 574. It will be on display through April 18, then will be a traveling exhibit to other Iowa museums and libraries, Venter said.

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