Professor Banasiak was the recipient of The University of South Dakota's Belbas-Larson Award in 2004, the highest teaching award of the University for excellence in education, and the Burlington Northern Faculty Award for work in creative research in 1992. John has been a part of over two hundred and fifty juried exhibitions since coming to the University of South Dakota in 1980.
Professor Banasiak presented a series of slides and talked about various projects he has been working on for the past six years. The photos presented were from all over the world. He stated that he felt photographs were starting points for thought processes. It is what else pictures suggest besides what they appear to be that is the interesting part. They can be seen as pathways or cultural icons that help the viewer find symbolic meaning.
Part of the photographs he showed was of people interacting with the environment. He likes photographs of people looking toward the camera. This can give the viewer insight into who the subject is.
John feels that photography can be a visual adventure. He tries to look at potential subject matter in a new or interesting way. Simply changing the perspective of the camera changes the picture tremendously. He demonstrated this with a series of pictures taken with a pinhole camera of various scenes around campus from various perspectives.
Currently he is also working on a series of photographic constructions using found objects. In closing he took time to answer questions from the audience.
Rotary International is a worldwide humanitarian service organization with 29,000 clubs in more than 160 countries. Founded in 1905 in Chicago, members of Rotary are business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build good will and peace in the world. For more information about Rotary in Vermillion, call Roger Kozak at 605-677-9030.