Union Student's Photography
Union student's photograph selected to open picture book
By Wendy Liberatore And Karen Bjornland - The Daily Gazette
When Katherine Hais received word that one of her photographs was selected for the picture book "New York 24/7," she ordered a copy immediately. At its arrival, she anxiously flipped through the coffee table tome. But she was unable to find her photo of the state Capitol. "I couldn't find the picture. My father picked up the book and opened to the first page. There it was. I was really excited," said Hais. Hais took the photo in 2003 as part of a photography class at Union College. Professor Marie Triller thought the book project — where photographers from all over New York state could compete for an entry in the book — would be a fun excursion for the class. The goal was to document a day in the life of the state. To be eligible, the photos had to be digital and taken in one designated week in May.
"I thought we should go to the Empire State Plaza," said Triller. "It would help our chances to show off New York state. That time of year, there are vendors out, state workers out. It bustling." But the day Triller selected was gray and miserable. No one was on the streets. "It was really bleak," said Triller. "So I told the students to look at architecture, sculpture." Hais turned her lens on the Capitol, showing off the tulips in full bloom in the foreground. "Everyone thinks New York City when they think New York," said Hais. "But a lot of what happens in New York happens in Albany. The Capitol is an important building, a beautiful building." Triller submitted her students' works to project coordinator, DK Publishing, a division of Penguin Group. Their images vied for placement against those taken by seasoned newspaper photographers from the Buffalo News and the Rochester Democrat. Judges David Frank, picture editor of The New York Times, and Michelle McNally, photo editor of Fortune Magazine, selected several photographs taken by the Union students and one by Triller. They were reproduced in small inch-size squares along the top of the pages. Hais's Capitol picture, on the other hand, went big. Though Hais said she is happy for her success, she has no plans to take up photography as a career. The 2003 Union graduate is living in Washington, D.C., and works as an assistant conference coordinator for SAIC, a government contractor that works with the Environmental Protection Agency. "The book is on the coffee table at home. My boyfriend wants to blow my photograph up big and hang in on the wall," said Hais. "But photography is just a hobby."
The hardcover book is available in bookstores and on the Internet. The cost is $24.95.