L&C Photography Students See Success at Wood River Art Competition

Article by: Nathan Woodside, L&C Media Services,

GODFREY – The work of Lewis and Clark Community College art students is being noticed in the thriving local community art scene.

Seven of the college’s Film Photography students had a total of 12 pieces accepted into the Wood River Heritage Council’s Small Works Art Competition, held Oct. 16-29 at Wood River Museum and Visitors Center.

The pieces, all artistic black and white prints developed by hand in the class’ darkroom, were among the 64 works of art at the eighth annual event, which was juried by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Art and Design Department Chair Brigham Dimick.

The images presented were by students Trevor Davis, Kaleigh Grace, Chandler Herron, Morgan McGuire, Samantha McPherson, Kayla Meyers and Lexie Pulliam.

L&C Professor of Art Jeff Vaughn said it’s the largest representation L&C has ever had at the show.

“I have a particularly good group of students this year,” Vaughn said. “The art was as good as I’ve ever seen at this annual exhibit, and the fact that our students did so well shows that.”

McGuire’s piece, entitled “Mirror, Mirror,” placed second overall. It’s a surrealistic image of a decorative mirror McGuire says she found at a yard sale. Placed in a park gazebo in Bunker Hill, she draped lace over it until, “it looked perfect.”

“Her image stood out very prominently,” Vaughn said. “It had a very layered effect that used reflection and distance to move your eyes. It’s really a beautiful, captivating image.”

McGuire said photography is more than a field of study for her. It’s her passion.

“I spent about three to four hours in the darkroom one day trying to make the print look as precise as possible,” she said. “I made about 15 copies of it until I was happy with the final result. I was extremely excited with how it looked after the whole process was completed.”

Davis received one of five Merit Awards for his closeup image of roses he captured during a photo outing at Gordon Moore Park in Alton.

“Converted to black and white film, you could precisely see the intricacies in the growth pattern of the petals,” Vaughn said of the image. “He captured the beauty and light wonderfully.”

It’s the first time any L&C Art Department student has taken home an award from the Wood River Museum exhibit.

Vaughn said it’s important for his students to exhibit their art in the community whenever possible.

“When they’re able to go out into the world and receive feedback from people, it’s an invaluable experience,” he said. “It’s really a reward for the work they’re doing in the classroom.”

McGuire said it was amazing feeling to have her work recognized in a show off campus.

“This event makes me want to enter my art in more shows because this is what I love to do,” she said. “Most people think photography in general is simple, but they don't realize how much time it takes to complete the process. I love putting in all the work for something beautiful to come out of all the time spent.”

She said the film photography class has helped her take work to another level.

“This is a great class and Professor Vaughn is a wonderful teacher,” she said. “He helps us bring our ideas to life, and always has great advice.” 

To learn more about the L&C Art Department, visit or contact Vaughn at