Students studying outside the library

Photographs by David Whisnant


January 10, 2008

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – David Whisnant, Wofford College’s vice president of technology, may be a technology guru by trade, but he’s a photography guru by hobby.

Whisnant started taking 35-mm photographs and developing his own black and white prints in a makeshift darkroom in the late 1960s. Now, his photographs are being featured in an exhibit for the first time.  “Photographs by David Whisnant” can be seen at the Martha Cloud Chapman Gallery in the Campus Life Building on the Wofford campus through Feb. 29.

“I spent my childhood on a farm in Illinois and, as I grew up, saw many of the farms I knew as a youth being abandoned and left to decay,” says Whisnant. “I took a series of black and white photographs of these farms, as well as similar ones in Wisconsin, in the 1960s and 1970s.”

One of his biggest attractions to photography was the opportunity to be involved with the pictures from beginning to end. As a result, Whisnant initially developed his own pictures, but once he became a parent and his children began to grow, he decided to stop.

All of that changed six years ago, when Whisnant purchased a digital camera.

“The digital cameras and sophisticated photo-editing software that have become available in the past few years have allowed me to continue with the beginning-to-end interest, now in front of a computer,” Whisnant says.

The Wofford exhibit contains a wide variety of photographs. Not only does Whisnant display those black and white photographs he took of farms in Illinois and Wisconsin, but he also produces color shots from scenery as exotic and varied as the American Southwest, Quebec, Ireland, Alaska, and some homegrown shots from various forests in and around Spartanburg.

He may not scope out specific scenery to shoot as he did in his younger years, but Whisnant knows what makes a good photograph.

“I don’t keep my camera with me all the time, but do carry it almost all the time when traveling – on summer vacations, to business meetings, or on hikes in the area.”

Even amateur photographers need inspiration, and Whisnant credits a series of Time-Life books published in the early 1970s titled “Time-Life Library of Photography.” He even admits to still being captivated by the images and calls them “a treasure-trove of information on all aspects of photography” from which anyone can learn.

Whisnant’s photography exhibit can be viewed daily and is free and open to the public.

MEDIA: To download a high-resolution (300 dpi) version of the photograph here, click on the image, then right-click and download to your computer.