hands holding picture of texas oil rig
"Sciences provide an understanding of a universal experience, Arts are a universal understanding of a personal experience... they are both a part of us and a manifestation of the same thing... that arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity." -Mae C. Jemison

Amy Kim, UT Permian Basin’s Lecturer and Gallery Director, is the recipient of the 2022 Texas Photographic Society National Photography Award for her collaborative work titled Wolfcamp Catalogue. The Texas Photographic Society (TPS) is a nationally and internationally recognized non-profit organization that celebrates the photographic arts. TPS provides programs and services for photographers and their audiences across the country, it also has a national and international membership.

“There is no better feeling! Juror, Marni Shindelman (Associate Professor of Photography U. of Georgia), told me that it was an honor to select my work. TPS CEO, Ann Shaw said they’ve been getting nothing but rave reviews for the exhibition. There isn’t a better compliment than these. It motivates me to keep at it,” says Amy.
amy kim headshot
The TPS award selection begins with a blind jury process. Amy said she submitted Wolfcamp Catalogue to have the opportunity of having a solo exhibition at Fotofest Biennale in Houston. Among the ten finalists, Amy’s work received the ultimate award.

In 2021 Amy met with Dr. Michael Zavada, chair of the geosciences department at UTPB, regarding a photo series she was working on about the Wolfcamp Shale in the Permian Basin. Wolfcamp is a geologic formation that is important to oil production and it is found in the Permian Basin. From that point forward the collaboration between the two departments intensified. Geology faculty spent hours assisting Amy with discipline specific questions and donating the precious core samples for the exhibition. Once completed, Wolfcamp Catalogue was first showcased at the 5th Annual Geoscience Symposium in the Spring of 2022.

“Those that attended the symposium were treated to different ways of looking at the same thing, how geoscientists view the Permian Basin, and seeing the basin through the eyes of an artist,” said Dr. Zavada, “the goal of this collaboration was to once again reaffirm the necessity of creativity to all human activity which has its nascent roots in both sciences and humanities (art), we believe it to be an award-winning success.”

Assisting Amy and Dr. Zavada collaborators on this project also included Sumit Verma, Miles Henderson, Robert Trentham, Mohamed Zobaa, and Joon Heo. Contributions from IT, College of Engineering, and graduate students in the geosciences department made this project an even bigger success. This project was also supported by the UTPB Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Amy Kim is a faculty member and gallery director at UTPB’s department of art. In her four years here, she has taught Digital Photography, New Media, Art Appreciation, and Gallery Apprenticeship. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in photography from Texas Tech University and a second Master of Fine Arts in art administration also from Texas Tech. Amy has exhibited at the CICA museum in Seoul, South Korea, in Pingyao, China, and all across the United States. Her book chapter “Photographic Arts and Fake News” was published in Teaching About Fake News published by the Association of College and Research Libraries. An American-born Korean, Amy has lived in Michigan, South Korea, France, and now Texas.

“I anticipate that this project will open more doors. The work is being well received in Houston, and I had productive conversations with international curators and fellow lens-based artists. I love being a photographic artist and I hope to be a role model for our students for showing and exhibiting artwork in the competitive contemporary art landscape.” Amy Kim.