Through Our Eyes Week 6

Below are some of our favorite photos from this week’s Through Our Eyes. Each week the selections are chosen by WKUPJ students. Stay tuned for more to come!

First Place

Tom Walron, 91, sits next to a local gas station in Wilmington, North Carolina, that was demolished after Hurricane Florence. “I’m sad to see this local business be destroyed from the Hurricane. I do business with the owner, doesn’t speak much English, but a great man. I will say that Hurricane Flo is nowhere as close as bad as Hurricane Hazel. I remember early October in 1954, and the city of Wilmington was destroyed in many capacities,” Walton said. | Michael Blackshire

Honorable Mention

Thomas Shaw, 64, wonders why locals are not able to humble themselves during the time of Hurricane Florence. “I don’t understand why people are not accepting this situation for what the situation is. I tell people this is only the beginning. Will only get worse from here, our planet will only get worse, and people are complaining about loosing electricity for a week,” Shaw said. | Michael Blackshire

Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines of Warren County has held the office of Sheriff for 40 years. In this year’s election Gaines faces opposition from Brett Hightower, a retired Bowling Green Police captain and Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient. | Silas Walker

Justin Miles, 28, tries to get back to safety after taking a dive in the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina. “I feel like the news exaggerated Hurricane Flo, because the area I lived in was not affected besides loosing electricity. I saw the tide of the waves moving in my direction so I decided to take a dive in the river,” Miles said. | Michael Blackshire

Lilly Riherd, 58, plays basketball with her only grandson Dalton Hughes, 13, at Covington Woods Park on Monday, September 24, 2018. Riherd said they shoot hoops for 30 to 45 minutes two to three nights per week. | Ivy Ceballo

Ronnie Oxenbine stops at an empty gas station for an effort to find supplies to leave Wilmington N.C. on Sunday 16, September 2018. “I honestly don’t know why I’m staying in this state,” Oxenbine said, “we were not ready when Hurricane Matthew happened and we are not ready for another hurricane.” | Fahad Alatobi

Wilmington, NC. Darik 65, walks around his neighborhood taking pictures of demolished buildings by Hurricane Florence on Sunday 16th of September 2018. “This is what nature destruction looks like and that’s only category 1.” Darik said. | Fahad Alotaibi

Pastor Chad Collins leads the church Miracle Life Center in Bowling Green, KY. He has in his own words experienced that God’s power was so divine that his son was cured for leukemia, after Jesus appeared in the dreams of his son. On Sundays, Mr. Collins often speaks in tongues or says “shhh, fhhhssss” and “fire!”, when he is in front of his church members. He whips them with a sweaty hand towel and pushes them. On the floor, some members lie there for a quarter of an hour. They look dizzy. Some cry, others pray. Everyone in the hope that they will experience the presence of Jesus. | Rasmus Flugt

Through Our Eyes Week 2

Below are some of our favorite photos from this week’s Through Our Eyes. Each week the selections are chosen by WKUPJ students. Stay tuned for more to come!

First Place

Tennessee Titans defensive back Dane Cruikshank #29 of dives into the crowd after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter vs the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 16. | Silas Walker

Second Place

My mom puts on my little sister’s veil a few minutes before she walks down the aisle. I’ve seen her fix my sisters hair hundreds of times: tight braids in the summer, ponytails with cheerleading bows, updos for dances and prom. In this exchange, I see how my sister will resume the duties with her own daughter, how she’ll brush and pull and spray until she is ready to be married. That is the cycle in these hills, a comfortable rotation of give and take. | Morgan Hornsby

Honorable Mention

Tennessee Titans mascot flexes and encourages the crowd to get on their feet before the kickoff of the opening season home game on Sunday, Sept. 16 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN. | Silas Walker

Tennessee Titans quarterback Blaine Gabbert #7 of the to tight end Jonnu Smith #81 is blocked by linebacker Brennan Scarlett #57 of the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 16. Gabbert recovered the blocked pass after Scarlett blocked it and was able to make a first down. | Silas Walker

WKU Alumna’s work to air on PBS World Channel

A 2018 WKU alumna and photojournalist Brittany Greeson joined a team of four other young journalists during the fall of 2017 in an effort to explore the issues that divide us and the stories that can bring us together for “Crossing the Divide,” an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. The half-hour documentary, which will air on PBS World Channel on September 24th, follows the team as they cross the country documenting the daily lives of average Americans.

“We reported on the idea of divisions in America” said Greeson. “We tried to find topics within that theme in each region.”  Greeson, who had worked with GroundTruth in the past, led the Kentucky reporting.

“I don’t believe in the term giving a voice to the voiceless” said Greeson. “I think people already have voices, I think it’s just our job to amplify them.” 


Below are a few of Greeson’s photographs from the project: 

Thomas Morgan, 32, steadily lifts swaths of tobacco to be hung to dry at the Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand, Kentucky, on Monday, September 27, 2017.  | Brittany Greeson

Layers of rock are seen towering above a busy highway just outside of Pikeville, Kentucky, on Saturday, September, 29, 2017. | Brittany Greeson

Lizzie Jones, 17, proudly wears her father’s employee of the month jacket from his time working at the coal mines nearby a shelf of her family’s relics of the coal industry at her home in Eastern Kentucky, on Sunday, September 24, 2017. Jones’ father passed away from black lung in 2014. In January of 2017 her mother, who also worked in the coal mining industry, passed away. Jones said she has plans on moving into the home they once shared and has developed a complex relationship with the coal. | Brittany Greeson


Crossing the Divide will air on PBS World Channel on September 24th.

Greeson’s work can be found at


Through Our Eyes Week 1

Below are some of our favorite photos from this week’s Through Our Eyes. Each week the selections are chosen by WKUPJ students. Stay tuned for more to come!

First Place

Jennifer and Cameron share ice cubes and a few kisses on a hot evening in Tevistion, California. Both their parents emigrated from Oklahoma with the rest of the “Black Okies” in mid-twentieth century to work the fields of the Central Valley. Jennifer moved to the cities briefly but has been forced to return to her family’s crumbling home to raise her two children, Naynay and Jordan. | Gabe Scarlett

Second Place

Aderemi Ogunleye, formerly a resident of Nigeria, West Africa, poses for a portrait after Oath of Allegiance to become a naturalized citizen of the United States at Central Library on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. | Ebony Cox

Honorable Mention

More than a week after the arrest of her father Jose (who is a green card holder), Natalie Garcia tries to console her daughter Marley outside their home in Arleta, California from which Jose was taken. He had been watering his lawn and preparing for a shift driving for Uber, one of his three jobs, when ICE officials detained him for deportation for a charge from two decades ago. Since his arrest, Marley has slept in his bed and lays out his clothes each day to pretend that he is there. “I put his perfume on sometimes,” Marley explains. “I close my eyes. I cry.” | Gabe Scarlett

Isla mujeres. | Fahad Alotaibi

My sister Gabrielle carries our brother on her hip after we swam in our backyard pool. In the 6 months I spent away, she turned 15, started high school. She has long legs and a boyfriend who drives his truck to our house to visit her on the porch. I am grateful, though, when she asks me to braid her hair, to make her macaroni and cheese or drive to the Dollar Store for finger nail polish and candy bars. She tells me this is temporary, she will have a license and her own car soon enough. I wish this away, selfishly clinging to her girlhood, hoping to keep her with me on the porch. | Morgan Hornsby

Jadon came from Texas with his family to swim in the waters off Santa Monica Beach. June, 2018. | Gabe Scarlett

For 16 years, Ally VanHook has been practicing and performing in dance. Her childhood consisted of constant training and showcases while growing up in Somerset, KY. Now a sophomore at WKU, she plans to use her double major in Dance and Marketing. | Bailey Cooke

Jimmy Hurt throws his 15-month-old in the air to get her to smile at the Field of Flags at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens on Monday, July 2, 2018. | Ebony Cox

Anthony, would not give his last name, 45, grew up as a Eight Tray Crip but now lives life with a drug addiction. “I am to old to be throwing up my gang set, but my life now is great, I’m a crackhead and I love every moment of it, until I get the next one,” Anthony said. | Michael Blackshire

A Cal Firefighter walks back to a safe zone after the smoke from the Holy Fire causes major him to evacuate the given area in Lake Elsinore, California. The Holy Fire blaze burned 23,136 acres across across Orange and Riverside Counties. | Michael Blackshire

Major Brett Ringger sets up to examine Isaac Dunn, 9, of Morgan County while his sister Mercedes Dunn, 3, watches at the Lee County High School on Monday. The eye examination is one of the health services offered as part of Operation Bobcat, a military training mission to practice medical set up for times of emergency, conflict or disaster. | Silas Walker

Chauncey Adams, 7, takes shelter from the sun under the play structure at Castlewood Park on Thursday, July 11. According to the National Weather Service, on Thursday, the heat index reached 103º F. Near by in Louisville the heat index on Thursday reached 107º F. | Silas Walker

Molly Richardson, 5, of New Jersey jumps onto CJ Visser, 10, of Lexington during the Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday evening. | Silas Walker

A member of the congregation waits in the entryway of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1960, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in this building, gathering over 1,500 Oklahomans to hear his message. | Morgan Hornsby

A portrait of Mackenzie on a weekend visit with her mother, Alyssa Yarnell, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Alyssa lost custody of Mackenzie while facing drug addiction, but recently graduated from a local rehabilitation program called Women in Recovery. Alyssa is now sober with a job and apartment and is fighting for legal custody of her daughter. | Morgan Hornsby

Alicia Forbit swims in the Arkansas River after visiting her husband Chris in Dick Conner Correctional Center. Since they were married in the visiting room of the facility two years ago, Alicia has spent every Saturday with him. Chris has been incarcerated for 8 years. “The hardest thing about all of this is the things that we miss out on doing together, and always feeling like a piece of me is missing. We continue to live life, go to the river and swim, to the water park, on picnics, all the things that everyone else does, but in the middle of the fun, there is always a flash of “Chris would be doing this if he was here,” Alicia said. | Morgan Hornsby

Morehead 2017 Mountain Workshops Exhibition Opens


Images and short-form narratives from the 2017 Mountain Workshops will be on display at the Morehead Conference Center, 111 E First St, Morehead, KY 40351 September 9 – 14. The Center is open 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. each day.

Morehead, a small town nestled in the shadow of Kentucky’s Appalachian foothills, became the host in October of 2017 to Western Kentucky University’s Mountain Workshops. More than 90 journalism students and young professionals from around the world spent five days expanding their skills under the watchful eyes of experienced teachers and renowned experts in visual storytelling. All the while they were creating intimate documentaries about the people and places of Rowan County.

The region revealed itself to be a surprising mix of minds and cultures, nature and industry, but above all a friendly place where neighbor helps neighbor. The headlines here often revolve around Morehead State University and its nationally recognized Division I men’s basketball team. The university takes great pride in its $15.6 million Ronald G. Eaglin Space Science Center. The future is happening at Morehead State. But most folks here love their history, and they have plenty of it. The area is nearly as old as the United States itself. The first settlers came here from Virginia in 1783, after the end of the American Revolutionary War. In 1854, Morehead became the third community settled in the county and named after James T. Morehead, governor of Kentucky from 1834 to 1836. Mayor Trent said folks here pride themselves on their hospitality, and visitors have been known to find the town so welcoming that they decide to make Morehead their home. “Morehead is really a melting pot for this area,” he said. “From the international students and staff at the hospital to our homegrown population, it all works together. It’s really a testament to the high quality of people we have here.”

The exhibition is made possible by Canon, USA and Western Kentucky University School of Journalism and Broadcasting.

For more information contact Jamie Breeze, Director of the Morehead Conference Center, 606-780-9694 or Miranda Pederson, Mountain Workshops logistics coordinator, 270-745-4206

An Evening with Carol Guzy

Mountain Workshops now accepting applications


The Workshops, which are now in their 43rd year, are an internationally recognized collection of simultaneous Photojournalism, Video Storytelling, Picture Editing workshops. In addition to our existing workshops, we are offering a newly created Digital Storytelling workshop. This new masters class workshop will give like-minded professionals who have skills in photo, print design, video-storytelling, time-lapse, writing and data visualization a perfect opportunity to team together and produce a single, goal-oriented project. The Mountain Workshops will be held Oct. 23 – 27.

Unlike our other courses where participants are guided by a single coach and work as individuals, this workshop is built around collaborative cooperation. Each participant in the Digital Storytelling Workshop will play to their strengths, but be closely engaged with their team and multiple coaches. Together they will build a story on a selected topic.

In what started as a class project to document one-room schoolhouses in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, the Mountain now hosts roughly 100visual storytellers each year as they explore a different Kentucky community. The Digital Storytelling Workshop is a perfect opportunity to learn from industry-leading storytellers and innovators in the historic context of the workshops.

Participants typically have journalistic training and come from a variety of journalism schools and professions, but it is not limited to those in the newsgathering business. Attendees come from various storytelling backgrounds and sometimes come back to the workshop several times. “As a working professional wedding photographer with a journalism background, Mountain Workshops has reminded me why I got into this business – storytelling,” said Jennifer Tai, a wedding photographer based in Washington state. “It’s also added a layer to my wedding work, … a kind of meaningful documentary storytelling that photojournalism can bring to the table. This business has changed tremendously in the last 25 years and continues to do so, and Mountain Workshops with its multi-layer panel of mentors and coaches, has enabled me to think deeply and broadly about where I can go with my photography, not just professionally but personally as well. I’m a workshop junkie and have attended plenty in the last decade. I am sad to miss Mountain Workshops this year because of work, but cannot wait to apply again in 2019 and be with my Mountain Workshops family again!”

Texas based visual storyteller Michael Cirlos, who attended the 2015 photojournalism workshop, created a project inspired by Humans of New York. Cirlos’ book “Humans of San Antonio” was released this summer with several book signings and showings. “I learned so many valuable storytelling lessons and skills at the Mountain Workshops that I’m using everyday as Staff Photographer and Videographer for Centro San Antonio. Rick Loomis was my coach in 2015, and one of the lessons he taught me was to always challenge your position as you want to be in the best spot possible. Keep in mind of a better shot because it’s usually just around the corner.”

About 160 participants, faculty and staff gathered in Morehead, a community on the border of the Appalachian Mountains, and produced documentary shorts, still images, visual graphics and time-lapse photography that are presented on-site. They will also be featured in a book and a traveling gallery. This year, the neighboring community of Mt. Sterling will host the workshops.

Watch last year’s wrap-up of the week, feel the inspiration and come join us for a great week of learning, discovery and fellowship.

Click here for a direct link to our application page.

For further information, please contact:


WKUPJ wins Hearst Intercollegiate Championships in photojournalism and multimedia

We are a proud group of WKUPJ faculty, staff and alumni and are always amazed by the dedication and talent of our students. Once again, WKUPJ has won the Hearst Intercollegiate Championship in Photojournalism and Multimedia. This is the 24th time WKUPJ has won in Photojournalism and this is our 7th year in a row that we have won Multimedia.  So many people to thank… and since we are visual people, it might be easier to show than tell.  Congratulations to all, and for a full rundown with links to their work, please visit

2018 Capstone Projects

We are excited to present an exhibition of the 2018 PJ436 Projects class, WKUPJ’s capstone course.


Arms to Embrace

A short documentary about protecting the ones you love in the face of a school shooting


Two women in Western Kentucky embark on a journey to spark a change in the mindset of their community, in the face of recent school shootings. Their motive – to protect the ones they love.


Journey to Pascha: Cultivating a Love for Christ


At Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, three community members make their way through the seasons of Great Lent and Holy Week, pursuing their goal of cultivating love for Christ in their hearts and their homes. Jackson struggles to create a new framework of belief for his family. Jeanette faces her inability to control the faith of her children. Father Jason struggles to balance his spiritual fatherhood with the demands of being a husband and a dad. This short documentary explores what it means to lose and gain faith and family.

Great Lent is the 40 days leading up to the annual ritual reenactment of Jesus’s last days called Holy Week.

Pascha is the Eastern Orthodox name for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, called Easter in western Christianity.



Unexpected Strength

Stories of adversity, inspiration and second chances through the eyes of athletes


What do a college student, stay-at-home mom, swim coach, visually impaired high schooler and mentor for underserved children have in common?  This project explores the stories of five different athletes beyond the court. It dives into their individual motivations, challenges, and the role athletics plays in their respective lives.



Searching for Hope

America’s most beautiful small town has some secrets.


Over the past few years, Bardstown Kentucky has had several unsolved crimes, including the disappearance of Crystal Rogers. After the sensational news stories slowed down, America quickly forgot about the mystery of this small town. However, the pain of Crystal’s disappearance is no less real for the people still searching for hope.



Love as steady as a rock

A father’s love powers him to care for his son


Larry Cushenberry, 74, is a retired Health teacher who has Parkinson’s Disease. Larry’s case of Parkinson’s affects his posture, walk, balance, and hand movement. Cushenberry was diagnosed six years ago and Parkinson’s has been detrimental to his health. Despite Cushenberry’s diagnosis, he is the main caregiver and legal guardian to Greg Phillips, 48, his nephew, who he refers to as his son. Larry’s health hinders him and soon he won’t be able to care for Greg.


Surviving in Hell

How diabetes affects people’s lives.


Have you ever seen someone out at a restaurant stick a needle in their finger or give themselves a shot? Do you know someone who carries an insulin pump with them everywhere they go? Diabetes has become more prominent in recent years, yet no one seems to realize how deeply it affects those diagnosed. It is something they live with and think about daily.




Cada día por Dios (Every day for God)

Inside La Luz del Mundo and the expansion of Hispanic evangelicalism


On the corner of Clay Street and West 12th Avenue in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Light of the World church (Iglesia La Luz del Mundo) towers above the surrounding neighborhood buildings. The church has become a cultural hub for the local Hispanic community through festivals and activities. Through their work at the church and a nearby taquería, tortilleria and tienda – all of which are owned and operated by the church – members of La Luz del Mundo hope to serve the community through faith and spread the word of God.



Through Our Eyes Week 3

“I think it’s incredible to see how people live from up here,” says Tom Vernon as he looks out the window of his small plane. Vernon has been in the sky for the past thirty years, working as a “taxi” service for missionaries in Africa, as a UPS pilot, and flying on his own for fun. | Skyler Ballard

WKU Forward Dwight Coleby (22) goes up for two as he is defended by ODU Forward Trey Porter (15) during the Hilltoppers 88-66 win over on Saturday Feb. 24, 2018 at E.A Diddle Arena. | Shaban Athuman

Joe Reed, 21, from Buffalo, NY listens to music on his cellphone before his match at the first annual Louisville Select Boxing Championship. Reed would go on to win the match. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. I had a great time in Louisville, drove down here with my team and Coach Nick treated us right, stayed in a nice hotel and the event was crazy. Winning was a part of the fight,” Reed said. | Michael Blackshire

Patrick McGee Sr., 53, was once a convicted felon who served in a Illinois State Prison. Recently incarcerated, he now is reconnecting with his family in Louisville, Ky to commemorate the loss of his son Louis McGee Jr., who was murdered March 28, 2017. “Getting that call, a call I never wanted to hear. I just knew that call was coming. I’m staying in Louisville with my wife trying to make this thing work. We have two other children still alive. I want my family to know I’m wanting to get better. I’m doing my best to stay here until the 28th to remember my son. It’s hard, but I’m doing my best not to catch that bus back to Illinois,” McGee Sr. said. | Michael Blackshire

Deacon Tyrone D. Booker Sr. holds the obituary of his son Tyrone D. Booker Jr., who was murdered in 2015 from gun violence in the back of a gas station. Tyrone D. Booker Jr. was apart of the misidentified four, who were a group of four young black males who were falsely accused of assault which lead to a 1.5 million dollar settlement. “My son had a target on his back after that settlement deal. Him and the three other young man became Louisville Legends. I told my son not everyone is your friend. People out there know who you are. I asked God why did you take my son. Why after seeing him being falsely imprisoned did you take him from this world, and he told me he needed to go home because he was in trouble in this world,” Deacon Booker said. | Michael Blackshire

WKU Forward Justin Johnson (23) walks off the court following the Hilltoppers 67-66 loss in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament against Marshall University on Saturday March 10, 2018 at The Star in Frisco, Tx. | Shaban Athuman

WKU Forward Tashia Brown (10) look to make a free throw during the Lady Toppers 78-50 win in first game of the Conference USA tournament against University of Texas at San Antonio on Thursday March 8, 2018 at The Star in Frisco, Tx. | Shaban Athuman

Hilltoppers’ Ben Morrison pitches during a winning game against Belmont at the Nick Denes Field, February 20th. The Hilltoppers defeated the Belmont 4-1. | Fahad Alotaibi

William Edmonds and Chloe Henderson from ONYX model management. | Emily Moses

Chloe Henderson, ONYX model from Huntsville, Alabama. | Emily Moses

Harlem Globetrotter’s guard “Flip” swings off the hoop after climbing on top to block the Washington General’s shots during their performance on Monday, Mar. 12, 2018 in E.A. Diddle Arena. | Silas Walker