“It was an unreal moment,” Cunningham said.
His four entries made it into the exclusive Five State exhibit in downtown Hays, in which only 163 out of 441 entries were selected, he said. Not only that, but one of Cunningham’s photos, titled “Shed of Ruins,” won one of 12 Juror’s Merit awards at the exhibition. The photo was taken by Cunningham, a senior at McPherson College, last summer just across the Franklin County line in Douglas County.
“I was back home and just got my new camera, so I went to take some photos,” he said. “I asked permission to take photos on the land. I walked around back and saw the shed. The light was just perfect. I was ecstatic.”
The photo was snapped with Cunningham’s then-new Nikon D7100 DSLR camera, he said.
In spite of his recent success, the 2010 graduate from West Franklin High School, 511 W. Franklin St., Pomona, didn’t get into photography until his junior year of high school, he said.
“I got bored one vacation and just started taking photos,” Cunningham said. “My parents got me a new camera for my birthday my senior year. I’ve been shooting ever since.”
That passion for photography led him to success in the Five State Photography Exhibition, which is the first show to which he has ever submitted work, he said. The exhibition runs from Dec. 7 to Jan. 18.
All four of his photographs, which also include shots from McPherson College, northern Franklin County and from on top of a mountain in Colorado, are on display at the show, and will be available for people to purchase after the show is complete, he said.
Cunningham said he wants to try to get into a few more shows before he graduates from college in May — maybe even exhibiting them in Franklin County while working full time after graduation. He is pursuing a degree in graphic design.
“I am mostly wanting to [shoot photography] in my free time for the love and joy of it,” Cunningham said.