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Dani Hughes
Excellence Award Winner
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Photography pursues expressive possibilities through a multitude of lenses as you explore analog, digital, and hybrid tools and processes.

When navigating my source of inspiration and the physical act of creating, it's always linked in a relation to nostalgia. Photography is a perfect medium to emulate human memory and pairs well with my exploration of time and sentimentalism. Whether it be my own memories, or my curiosities surrounding bygone eras, I use photography as a visual narrative tool. The influences of my rural Midwest upbringing and family history often surface in my work and reflect a draw to preserving personal attributes of remembrance. I find connecting with your art process is just as valuable as with your subject and the tactful patience and craft required with traditional analog photography grounds the steady flow of ideas and passions that float around in my mind.

What is your most memorable

experience at KCAD?

One of my most memorable experiences was my first successful roll of black and white film developed in my Intro to Photography class. It took me many failed attempts - 5 blank rolls, trying out 3 different cameras and some tears of frustration before I was able to begin to grasp the science created between the camera and I. Once I was finally able to see images appear on a film strip and the magic of a darkroom print develop into existence, I was newly excited, fulfilled and inspired. I quickly fell in love with the hands-on nature and the force to slow down that's required in working with analog photography as well as the ways of understanding light, and constructing a vision in front of you to capture.

What are your most

notable accomplishments?

One of my most notable accomplishments is the personal and artistic growth as well as confidence I've built through the community of KCAD.


I've been able to study abroad in Italy, gain immense experience in creative problem solving, research and analyze master artists of the world, and take advantage of every assignment as an opportunity to build on personal concepts while maintaining academic honors.


Working as a photography lab technician for two years has allowed me to assist and connect with other students on the technical aspects of the Photo Program.


Not only have I been able to hone my craft in digital and analog photography, but also continuously experiment with the crossover of photography with other art mediums such as printmaking, jewelry making, book making, painting, sequencing with prose poetry, and on handmade paper.


This has led to various exhibition opportunities, including a traveling show titled, "Traces of Me" throughout 2021 and 2022.


Both Adam DeKraker and Adam Schuitema were tremendous mentors to me through years sharing their knowledge and passions to expand mine. I will take their above-and-beyond teachings with me far past my time at KCAD. Thank you, Adams!

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