The Black Hills State University photography program recently received cash donations of $18,000 as well as additional equipment donations with a value of $9,000. 

Dr. Richard Kessel from Iowa City, Iowa, donated the money along with approximately $3,000 in new digital imaging equipment.  Dr. Dan Tackett from Rapid City donated approximately $6,000 in professional darkroom and photographic equipment. 

According to Steve Babbitt, BHSU professor of photography, these donations have made great improvements and additions to the photography program possible.

“The Mass Communication department and the photography program are grateful for the donations we have received. These gifts are important for our continued growth,” Babbitt says. He noted that over the past decade the photography program has benefited from the generosity of many people who have donated equipment.

Josh Cooke, senior Black Hills State University mass communication major from Douglas, uses recently donated photography equipment.

The funds will be used to make needed repairs to lighting, darkroom and computer equipment. In addition the funds will assist in the development of curriculum and equipment for two new photography courses, History of Photography and Studio Lighting.

Babbitt also plans to use funds to bring guest lecturers to campus, to encourage student research, to promote student exhibitions on and off campus, and create traveling student exhibitions. 

The money was also used to establish the BHSU Permanent Photographic Collection, which contains approximately 50 pieces to date. Video equipment and accessories were purchased to enhance mass communication and photography curriculum.

Equipment purchased or donated includes:

  • Computer monitors, computer hardware and software upgrades, a new printer and scanners and paper and ink for the Digital Imaging Lab
  • Supplies for alternative silver printing
  • Three consumer grade digital cameras
  • Various lenses and film cameras
  • A wide selection of studio lighting equipment
  • Photographic books
  • Polaroid transfer supplies
  • Tripods
  • Variable contrast 4X5 enlarger
  • Film and print washers
  • Frames for displaying student work
  • A professional quality, on-camera strobe
  • Two professional quality film and digital camera lenses

Mass communication is one of BHSU’s fastest growing programs with a growth of more than 280 percent in the last five years. The photography program at BHSU offers many opportunities to students interested in photojournalism, commercial and many other areas of photography. The program offers both basic and advanced black and white photography, color photography, digital imaging, photojournalism, and contemporary issues classes. For photography majors, other courses include studio lighting, the history of photography and alternative processes.