Rachael Keating's first place

 MACOMB, IL – As the old saying goes, "Big things come in small packages." A Western Illinois University Visual Production Center (VPC) photographer, one of just four employees in the WIU's photo and print shop in Tillman Hall, beat out photographers from Big 10 and Big 12 schools in a recent University Photographers Association of America (UPAA) monthly photo competition.

Rachael Keating's first place

Rachael Keating, digital imaging specialist II, placed first in the UPAA September competition's Sports Action category for her caught-in-the-moment shot of Leatherneck Men's Soccer. Sarah Ritter, VPC manager, placed fourth, again beating out photographers from around the globe, for her shots of fireworks on the WIU campus (Campus Environment category) and a carnival ride during the 2021 Heritage Days (Personal Vision category).

The duo are no strangers to winning UPAA competitions. Ritter placed third and fourth in October 2020; Ritter and Keating each captured fifth place in the UPAA Annual Photo Competition in June 2020; and both placed in UPAA's April and January 2020 competitions.

UPAA's Monthly Image Competition began 2004 as a way for members to share photographs in friendly competition. University of Houston photographer Jeff Shaw came up with the idea and the competition has grown from a few images in its early days to over 300 monthly entries.

"A big congratulations to Rachael for her first place finish. Western Illinois University is fortunate to have such incredible talent at VPC. Sarah, Rachael and George Hartmann capture the best of the best of WIU every day, and Natalie Divan ensures a captivating campus through her designs and prints. Their talents are outstanding," said Darcie Shinberger, executive director of University Communications. "Competition winners or not, each day these four WIU employees go above and beyond to preserve the beauty of WIU through photographs and prints."

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