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UT Photography Program


Tom Geisler

My serious venture into photography started about 40 years ago when I watched my father transition from his career as a minister into retirement.  His only interest had been serving other people.  In retirement, he was lost.  He constantly filled in for sick or vacationing ministers, but it just wasn’t the same.  He had not developed any hobbies or fun skills to occupy his retirement years.  I was determined to not let that happen to me.  My mother was an educator and an artist, her side of the gene pool was also full of electrical and mechanical success stories.  Looking back now, I see that my fate was set.  I am naturally mechanical, and electrical.  I am a chemist by education.  I have an artistic streak from my mother and a love of helping people from my dad. 

Somehow I found photography (remember; this is back in film days, not quiet glass plates and daguerreotypes, but full of mechanical camera parts, electronic flashes, wires, switches, and a darkroom full of chemistry and magic).  Making images for people and having them actually like them was all I needed.  I shot images all the time and spent hours in the darkroom perfecting my skills.  The digital age finally became affordable to me and the whole process started all over again with “computer darkrooms”, wonderful cameras and equipment, but the best part was when I started teaching photography for the University of Tennessee in 1996.  Now I could put everything I had inherited and learned to use all at the same time.  Helping students understand the wonderful world of digital photography with all the possible controls and variations just makes me happy.  And after all, isn’t that what a hobby is supposed to do?

Ron McConathy

Ron McConathy, Aronsha Photography, began his photography career with a Brownie Hawkeye camera given to him when he was a teenager. Through the years, he has improved his technique and composition by taking classes and making lots of images. His photography has been published, and he has sold his nature and scenic photography at art shows in the eastern United States. Their unique style and technical quality cause their images to stand out among the crowd. Ron has retired and closed his business and now photographs for fun.

Ron keeps his classes informal, with everyone working together to learn about photography. Each person in his class will be both teacher and student, sharing what they know and learning from each other. He has been teaching at UT for 10 years.

Ron is a long-time member of the Camera Club of Oak Ridge, past president and charter member of Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers (SANP), and member of North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA). He gives photography related presentations to camera clubs and groups in East Tennessee.

Wade Payne

Payne is an independent photographer based in Knoxville, Tennessee. He's represented by BLACK STAR Agency in New York, Cal Sport Media and ICON Sports Media. The majority of his assignments over the last 25+ years have been for the Associated Press and a variety of media agencies such as Reuters, European Press Agency,the New York Times, LA Times, USA TODAY, the Denver Post, the Washington Post and Readers Digest. Wade was selected from among the top AP photographers to join the INVISION entertainment agency and his sports photography can be seen at AP Locally, his work can be seen in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

His wide variety of assignments have allowed him the opportunity to photograph members on the political ladder all the way up to the President of the United States. His sports images cover high school, college and professional athletes plus Hall of Fame coaches and players.

Over the years Wade has photographed some very iconic figures of our times and has won a variety of awards and honors for those images. One of his most notable "Best of Show" images is of Earl Lloyd, the first African American NBA player. Copies of the artwork produced with this image are now hanging in the Smithsonian Institute, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Library of Congress and in the NBA Hall of Fame. President Obama was also presented a copy of this print at the White House during his first year in office.

Wade produced the final images of East Tennessee's most infamous moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton on the day of his death. Because Wade's dramatic images captured the essence of the legendary moonshiner they were selected to help market the Tennessee White Whiskey now being legally produced. His images of Popcorn are also exclusively featured on the label of the new "legit moonshine". Wade's daunting final portrait of Popcorn hangs in the Nashville TN based production facility above two of the worlds largest legal moonshine stills.

Randy Sartin

Randy is a Knoxville, TN based Professional Photographer who truly enjoys his work photographing all types of sports and athletes, from Pee Wee Football, High School, UT Sports to the NFL, NHL, and NASCAR including editorial coverage and dramatic portraits of athletes. His sports work has been published by/in/with/for a large variety of newspapers/online services/magazines/universities including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Lindys, CBS MaxPreps, USA Today, University of Alabama, University of the Cumberlands, Mercer University, the University of Tennessee, Athlon Sports, Football and Basketball Time in Tennessee, and many others. .



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