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Milligan student’s photography culminates in ‘All Things Beautiful’

Johnson City Press 

MILLIGAN COLLEGE — Austin Sanford can find beauty in just about everything she sees through the lens of her camera.

The Charlotte, N.C., native is a senior at Milligan College and has been taking photography classes since her freshman year. Her photography show, titled “All Things Beautiful,” opened Sunday and is a compilation of more than four years of work, which began back in high school.

“I started with photography when I was in the 10th grade and I’ve grown a lot since then and learned how to take beautiful pictures,” Sanford said. “Everything is beautiful in God’s creation and that’s how I look at everything.”

The photography exhibition includes 38 pictures, most of which are digital prints.

“I like digital prints because the quality of the prints come out better and I got to control what I was doing. If I didn’t like what I was doing I could delete it and if I did like it, I could go back and edit it,” she said.

While Sanford was home enjoying the summer break in between her junior and senior year of college, she got an internship with Melissa Cooper Photography, a local studio near her home in Charlotte. It was during her time working at the studio that provided her with some of her favorite photographs.

One photograph titled “Adolescence” is Sanford’s favorite picture in the show. The photograph features Cooper’s daughter, Maggie, in a striking and reflective pose.

“I was working in the studio and we were looking for models,” Sanford said. “Melissa invited her daughter and her cousin to come out for the day. I was playing around with Maggie and I asked to look down and I was able to capture that moment. It was one of my favorite shots from the whole day.”

Sanford began putting her show together during the Christmas break. Together with her parents, she began organizing the photos.

“She didn’t let me see anything she was working on until the very end,” said Donna Sanford, Austin’s mother. “It amazed me how far she’s come.”

The show is Austin’s capstone requirement in order to fulfill her major in photography.

“I’m happy to be done. I hope to go back to the studio and work with (Cooper) again until her business picks back up,” Sanford said. “I’m hoping to get a job at a photography studio back home in Charlotte and work there.”

“All Things Beautiful” will remain up through Friday in the Derthick Art Gallery at Milligan College.

Johnson City Press Article


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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