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Terry Ownby

Terry Ownby


Office: Frazier 416

(208) 282-6453


BS, Media + Photography + Geography, Missouri State University; MA, Media Communication, Webster University-Saint Louis; PhD, Visual Media Studies, Colorado State University-Fort Collins


Visual Communication and Photo Media

Courses Taught:

ART2210/CMP2250: History and Appreciation of Photography; CMP2251: Intro. To Photography; CMP3352: Photo Communication; CMP3355: Studio Photography; CMP4455: Photo Media; CMP4457: Advanced Photography; CMP6630: Critical Visual Methodologies

I am a visual storyteller. My career has been diversified, challenging, and above all, FUN! Over the years and before turning to full-time academics, I have accomplished editorial and food advertising photography, shot and directed corporate video productions, served as a military photojournalist and public affairs chief for an Army division (both stateside and overseas), and mentored hundreds of emerging visual communication professionals.

During my professional career, I won multiple ADDY Awards and worked with clients such as: Tyson Foods, Land O' Lakes, Bass Pro Shops, Copper Mountain Resort, and Colony Brands, to mention a few. My commercial work has been published in magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, McCall's, Ladies Home Journal, TV Guide, and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, among others. Lastly, I have worked in broadcast and TV operations for a local PBS station, which included producing several on-air promo pieces.

Here at Idaho State University, I'm an associate professor in the Communication, Media, & Persuasion department and I teach in our Visual Communication program. As an undergrad teacher, my area of responsibility is the Photo Media track and I manage the program’s first fully-equipped photography studio. I provide a variety of face-to-face and online photo media courses, field experience, and professional studio application for our photo majors. Also, I conduct graduate seminars on critical visual methodologies.

My research interests include: Atomic West Photography: Photography and Nuclear Zones in USA West; Visual Semiotics: Personal Identity through Visual Images; Vernacular Snapshots: Road Trip Identity and Photo Media; and 19th Century Photographic History: American Photography in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, I have presented my research at conferences in Cyprus, Sweden, and Turkey, as well as in the U.S.

So, as you can see, I haven't always been an academic! I've had full careers in corporate advertising and in the military. And just to mix things up a bit, I farmed my wine vineyard in Wisconsin for several years. What a ride!

Dr. Ownby’s CV

Dr. Ownby’s Website

Dr. Ownby’s Blog

Dr. Ownby’s page


Selected Publications

Ownby, T. (2017). Gulf-08 with Bluebird House #20. Juried Group Exhibit. Midwest Center for Photography: Topographies, Wichita, KS.

Ownby, T. (2017). Shepard’s Wagon in Snow. Juried Group Exhibit. 1650 Gallery: Snow & Ice 2017, Los Angeles, CA.

Ownby, T. (2017). Atomic Amnesia: A Mashup of Photo Media, Cartography, and Satellite Imagery. Presented at the GeoMedia 2017 Conference, Karlstad, Sweden,

Ownby, T. (2017). Photographing the Wunderkammer: A Personal Journey of Art Making and Meaning. In C. Mieves and I. B. Wonder (Eds.) Contemporary Art Practice (pp. 271-283). London: Routledge.

Ownby, T. (2015). Reconstructing Silent Voices in Southern Photographic History. The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of Arts & Letters in the South, 52(4), 11-27.

Awards & Honors

Member, Atomic Photography Guild