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New Media Graduate Finds Patience in Photography and Photoshop

As a young emerging photographer, patience was an elusive life skill for Dax Finley. But when he finally harnessed his patience, he captured success and honors. Finley was the spring 2010 student marshal for the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture. The title of marshal is awarded to the student who has earned the highest overall grade-point average in the college.

After receiving his first camera when he was 12, Finley became fascinated with photography … until his two rolls of film ran out. Looking back, Finley acknowledged that patience — or in some cases, lack of it — would shape his artistic destiny. Not patient enough to develop the film, he turned away from the art form until high school. Once again, lack of patience with fumbling around in dark rooms trying to develop his images put his talent on the back burner. After graduating from high school, he drifted in and out of majors at Penn State before leaving to try working at Aris Corporation of America and Jostens Publishing. During this period, Finley found his patience and “finally got a grip on what I wanted to do with my life.”

While continuing his employment at the Penn State University Libraries, where he has worked as a graphic designer since 2003, Finley returned as a fulltime photography student. He soon discovered that his interest and skill in photography and graphic design really flourished when he merged his vision, his photos and Photoshop to create digital images that captured the subject in strikingly unique ways. Finley credits photography instructor Fred Weber with influencing his work. “It was really when I took Photo 400 with Fred that things took off,” said Finley. “I could see my abilities in composition, lighting and technique improve as he began to weave in more advanced skills.”

Finley, who was a returning adult student, earned a bachelor of fine arts in new media with a concentration in photography. Graduating with a cumulative GPA of 4.00, Finley garnered several honors, including the Bruce E. Moyer Trustee Scholarship (2009, 2010) and the Class of 1934 Reunion Fund Scholarship. He was on the Dean’s List for all semesters and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Finley has had his work featured prominently at the University Libraries, including the Paterno Retrospective and the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibits. His photography can be viewed in the summer 2009 issue of Reiki News Magazine and on his Web site, http://daxwithcamera.com/. He is currently working on redesigning the Web site for Nittany Beverage and providing the photography for the book, Watercharms: Ocean-Reiki Meditations for Clearing, Clarity, and Healing, by local author and holistic health practitioner Sylvia M. DeSantis, to be published by Schiffer Publishers in fall 2011.

Contact: Flora W. Marynak, fwm1@psu.edu