Exhibit to show Sac State through the years

Sean Keister

The Library Gallery Annex is getting ready to host an exhibit showcasing the work of longtime campus photographer Sam Parsons, who retired in January after 30 years at Sacramento State.

Organized by Parsons, “Depth of Field: 30 Years of Photography and Multimedia” will include notable photos taken by Parsons over the course of his career at Sac State, as well as multimedia projects compiled since beginning work on the show in January.

The exhibit will run Friday through April 30, with a special reception held April 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Parson said the show is not intended to be a history of campus events, but a reflection of work that best represents his career.

“It involved a ton of work on my part,” Parsons said. “I mean, most retirees when they retire, they don’t want to do any more work, but this is kind of for me as well as it is for the campus.”

As for photography, there will be a section showcasing his photos of Sac State gymnasts, but it is only a small part of the overall show.

“There will be posters, publications, brochures and multimedia that I’ve done over the years, so it’s not just photos,” Parsons said. “Hopefully people will find it interesting and maybe exciting.”

One of the displays is a timeline of campus construction that shows the ways the campus has changed over the years.

Another display called Headshots will be one of the main pieces of the show. It is a projected fast-paced video of the many portraits of faculty members he photographed, one face at a time.

“The new headshot video, the morphing prints and the timeline are what I feel the best about,” Parsons said. “It’s the new stuff that I’ve done that I’m the proudest of and because it’s brand new, hasn’t been seen yet.”

Leslie Rivers, assistant to the gallery director who has known Parsons since 2002, said the exhibit is a great way to honor the work he has done for the campus throughout the years.

“He has been really important to the gallery up until his retirement because he would come in and chronicle our exhibitions,” Rivers said.

She said his body of work demonstrates the evolution of the campus over the past three decades.

“The photographs are the documents that capture a place in time,” Rivers said.

She said Parsons contributed to the gallery immensely. For some shows, he had hundreds of pieces to photograph.

“His contribution to those things helped us document who we’ve been and we’re just one small component of the campus,” Rivers said. “He’s been doing it for everybody.”

Phil Hitchcock, director of the Library Gallery, said the exhibit will demonstrate Parsons’ important role of archiving the history of Sac State.

“It’s a history of the photography he took here at the university – the construction of the buildings, the people and personalities, the programs, the dignitaries, the visitors and conferences,” Hitchcock said. “We have here everything he documented for 30 years. It documents the history and shows the growth of the campus.”

Even though Parsons retired from his job as campus photographer, he will continue to be a prominent figure on campus.

“I’m supposed to teach a class in the department of photography this summer and perhaps in the fall as well,” Parsons said. “So I’m going to still maintain a connection with the campus.”

Parsons said he has been working on the exhibit almost every single day and is excited for it to open.

“I will be honored if people show up and enjoy the show,” Parsons said.

Sean Keister can be reached at [email protected]