Art Department

Student Profile: Mike Wells - Photography

Finalist two consecutive years in national competition


Photography student Mike Wells ‘14 has secured two national awards in photography. Wells entered Photography Forum’s "Best of College Photography" in 2013 and 2014; both entries were chosen and published as finalists.

Wells was initially studying graphic design, but found photography was becoming more and more his focus. After spending months working on Hebrew Idol he had his “Aha!” moment. He had been working with the photography and video editing for the competition and asked PLU’s resident video producer, what he thought of his work.

“He told me he liked it and then asked me something that would change my perception of the path that I was on... ‘What are you studying here and why?’ A question to which I had no logical answer, so I had to think to myself ‘why?’, and that led to where I am now,” Wells said.

One of Mike’s favorite parts of photography is the opportunity to problem-solve.

“Photography and art, as I have discovered, is a process of development,” Wells said. “Being a photographer has pushed me when developing ideas, creating, and most importantly, solving the problems that you expected and/or the ones you never thought would come up.”

Wells Problem solving was how Wells secured his second finalist position. When Wells approached his teammate Jonny Volland, he initially wanted him shooting off fireworks with his hands, but after a technical malfunction, he had to find another solution. With Photoshop and patience, he was able to create a piece that would allow him to be published nationally for a second time.

Wells, who plans on graduating in May, is currently working on his capstone where he is exploring how motion affects the emotions of his subjects. After graduation, Wells plans to pursue a career as a commercial photographer, and is trying to gain experience in a variety of photographic styles.