Longtime university photographer to give exhibit before retirement

Russ Houston is pictured early in his career covering an athletic event at Humphrey Coliseum, left, and more recently at George Hall, home of MSU’s Office of Public Affairs. A selection of Houston’s photographs from throughout his career at Mississippi State will be on exhibit in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery March 19-April 6.

A Mississippi State photographer who has chronicled university life for three decades will showcase his work during an exhibit this month.

Russ Houston, who joined MSU in 1988 and plans to retire as photographic services coordinator June 1, will display a selection of his photographs March 19 through April 6 in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery. A reception will be held in his honor from 2-4 p.m. on April 3 in the Old Main Lounge on the second floor of the Union.

In his role in the Office of Public Affairs, Houston has provided images for news, publications and the web for the award-winning communication unit. He also has filled photography requests for the university’s many colleges and departments, and his work has been published by the Associated Press, Clarion-Ledger and newspapers throughout Mississippi and the Southeast.

A 1985 broadcasting alumnus of the university, he worked at the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus before beginning his MSU duties.

Houston’s career was split nearly in half between the days of film and darkroom processing and digital photography techniques. Looking back, he said his goals have been for people to be happy with their pictures, whether he was taking a portrait or shooting an event. He said he has enjoyed the variety of subjects the university has offered, from sports and beautiful landscapes to student life, with lots of campus activities.

“I’ve been able to interact with so many people at MSU, and I’ve made good friendships with alumni, faculty, staff and students,” Houston said. “Over the last few years, I’ve really tried to listen to students. It’s interesting to hear about their obstacles, goals and all the backgrounds and stories they share.”

Sid Salter, director of the Office of Public Affairs and MSU chief communications officer, said Houston has been a true ambassador for Mississippi State University.

“His retirement marks the exodus of a wealth of institutional knowledge. His talent as a photographer is evident and undeniable, but only those of us who worked with him know the depth of his love for MSU and the extraordinary lengths Russ goes -- literally and figuratively -- to capture the university in the most favorable light. I know I speak for my OPA colleagues as I wish Russ and his family the very best in this new phase of his life,” Salter said.

For more on the university’s Office of Public Affairs, visit www.opa.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Allison Matthews | Public Affairs

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