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  • Art---Fifty-Cents-and-a-Happy-Goat_web
    Fifty Cents and a Happy Goat Madelyn Penkava 
    You are more Madelyn Penkava 
    Lonely Tree Madelyn Penkava 
    Always There Madelyn Penkava 
    One Man's Trash Madelyn Penkava 

Madelyn Penkava

  • Madelyne Penkava, Human ServicesMadelynPnkava_web

    Madelyne Penkava won the Vol. 14 Grand Prize Artwork award for her collection of photographs. Her subjects are eclectic-ranging from the compelling beauty of nature to the vibrant power of the urban environment. With their striking compositions and saturated colors, her images beg the viewer to consider the wonder in ordinary life. Her image, "Always There," so captivated the Editorial Team that it was chosen to appear on the cover of Volume 14.

    Madelyne graciously spoke with Illuminations about her creative take on life.

    Illuminations: What do you enjoy most about photography?

    Madelyne: Photography can be interpreted in so many ways. It can provoke a memory, a feeling, or a mood. Two people could look at the same photo, yet leave with two different impressions.

    I: Do you have other artistic pursuits besides photography?

    M: When I was young, my mother would tell me to "think INSIDE the box." My mind is a constant slave to creativity, which comes in handy at times, and at other times can be a pain. I see artistic capabilities and venues out of the most random and un-artistic things. Just last week, I saw an old shutter sitting near the dumpster, and I took it inside and hung my earrings on it. It looks so neat! Sometimes it's the smallest things that can be transformed into the neatest of things.

    I: Your photos cover a wide range of topics--people, landscapes, urban settings, animals, nature, and more. What are your favorite photography subjects and why?

    M: I really don't have a favorite. When you capture a powerful image, you know it. I guess instead of saying I cover a wide array of topics, you could say I try to capture a wide array of powerful, moving images.

    I: Do you enjoy manipulating your photos? If so, in what way?

    M: To some extent, yes, although I never manipulate the actual image. I simply change contrast, enhance, or occasionally add a phrase or quote. I don't believe any image should be Photoshopped or modified significantly. A true photographer can capture a powerful image with a camera and eyes without having to create a synthetic one on a computer.

    I: You were the Grand Prize Winner for Artwork for Volume 14. How did that win and your publication in Illuminations affect you?

    M: It really motivated me to become a better photographer. It also made me want a new camera. So now I have a couple less "zeroes" in my bank account and a new camera in my hands. It was worth it.

    I: Where do you see yourself as a photographer in ten years?

    M: Although I am going on to obtain my Masters in Counseling, I know I will always have a passion for photography. At this point, I enjoy just doing it on the side. I've heard so many stories of great photographers getting burned out; I never want that to happen. As of now, I'm okay with it being a form of relaxation and enjoyment verses a paycheck.

    I: What advice do you have for other students who want to improve their photography?

    M: Photography teaches people to go beyond our daily routine. It challenges us to see the little things and to slow down. It isn't about being in the right place at the right time; it is about changing the way we see things. I believe that if everyone learned how to view the world through the eyes of a photographer, the world would be even more beautiful than it already is.