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  • Patrick's People - Top Shot

  • Sam Clausen isn’t where he wants to be yet, but he’s definitely on the right road in pursuit of excellence in photography.

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  • Sam Clausen isn’t where he wants to be yet, but he’s definitely on the right road in pursuit of excellence in photography.
    The Pittsburg State University sophomore recently received several honors from the Professional Photographers of the Ozarks during its fall competition in Eureka Springs, Ark.
    “This was my first time to compete there, except for a mock competition I attended where they give you advice on how the judges judge and what to look out for,” Clausen said.
    He competed in the First Timer category and received the First Timer Award as well as the Electronic Imaging Award. One of his photos received a Judge’s Award.
    “Each judge got to pick a favorite photo, and one of them liked ‘Window to the Soul’,” Clausen said.
    Winning the awards went beyond his expectations. Naturally he was delighted, but believes the competition would have been a worthwhile educational experience even if he hadn’t won anything.
    “There were three other PSU students who also went, and we got to watch the judging,” Clausen said. “They also had classes on how to improve photos, seminars on business and how to sell your work, information on techniques showing the better way or easier way to do things. I’d really like to get more PSU students interacting with this.”
    He credited Don Runyon, owner of Treasured Images in Pittsburg, with helping him a lot, along with Jessica Edwards, a portrait photographer in Lamar, Mo.
    “Jessica got one of the higher prizes at the competition,” he said.
    Clausen’s honors were also impressive for a young person starting out in the field, according to Runyon.
    “This is pretty prestigious,” he said.
    A 2010 Southeast High School honor graduate, he is the son of Kim and Jim Clausen, and has lived in Cherokee since being adopted from Taiwan. He became interested in photography around 2009, when a friend got her first camera and invited him to come along on a photo shoot.
    In his senior year of high school Clausen was a winner in “Kansans...As Talented As You Think,” an art competition and show for high school students sponsored by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas. His winning entry was a digital photo of a dragonfly against the moon.
    At PSU he also competed in the Main Event, an advertising contest sponsored by the American Advertising Federation of Joplin.
    “I was taking a graphics design class at the Kansas Technology Center and the instructor encouraged students to enter,” Clausen said.
    He received a Gold Addy in the Joplin competition, and his entry also received a Silver Addy at the district level. However, he said that he wasn’t the only PSU student who did well in the contest.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A lot of PSU students participated in the Addy competition in Joplin and we really took home the cheese on that one,” Clausen said.
    He plans to build a career a career in photography.
    “Right now I’m leaning more toward commercial photography where I’d get paid every week,” Clausen said.
    But he also enjoys experimenting and pushing himself to develop his skills. Clausen collects old cameras, often takes photos of them, and would like to take pictures with some of them.
    “Hopefully my next project is something with film,” he said.
    He also wants to pursue photo competitions as a means of learning from the best photographers in the field.
    “At the mock competition, they tore me up pretty good, but if that’s what it takes for me to learn and grow, it’s all right,” Clausen said.

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