New Faculty Profile: David Purdy

Professor David Purdy

Professor David Purdy

By Olivia Herr.

Professor David Purdy is the new head of the photography program at Ankeny DMACC.

He was hired in August after Curt Stahr retired after more than 20 years as program chair.

Purdy is originally from Ankeny and now lives in Beaverdale with his wife and two sons. After graduating from Ankeny High School, he went on to Hawkeye Community College.

From there he moved to Mississippi where he worked as a photojournalist at the Brookhaven Newspaper for about fifteen months. His next opportunity was in Biloxi, Mississippi, a beautiful area that saw many tourists and was prone to hurricanes.

In the 22 years that he lived in the South, Purdy describes his greatest accomplishment as surviving Hurricane Katrina.

Not only was he documenting the tragedy and hardships from a journalists’ point of view, but it was also extremely important and personal for him because he too was a victim.

Purdy was part a group of people covering the hurricane and who submitted work for a Pulitzer Prize. The group received a gold medal for their service to the public.

Purdy’s passion for photography goes back to his childhood and watching his grandfather take pictures at the Iowa State Fair.

In the ninth grade he bought his first camera. He then joined his high school newspaper and even had a dark room in his house.

His favorite part of being a photojournalist is meeting people and going places.

“As a photographer, you wear a lot of hats. I was blessed to be a newspaper and commercial photographer,” Purdy says. “I’ve worked in the Panama Canal and Honduras, flown in the cockpit of an airplane flying through the eye of Hurricane George, and been in all sorts of army maneuvers.

“I also had the opportunity to meet with and photograph Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tony Bennett and B.B. King.”

The opportunity to lecture for universities in the South and supervisor summer interns at the paper where Purdy worked benefitted him when he returned to Des Moines. He started worked as an adjunct at DMACC in the fall of 2008.

His goal with the photography program is to advance the certificate to an associate’s degree. The program is transitioning and being revamped by adding commercial, portrait and portfolio photography classes that will eventually be held in Building 18.

Purdy wants the classes to be relevant to the current photography industry and to continue to grow.

He is excited for what is to come and encourages anyone who is interested in photography to stop by in Building 3W.

He notes that photography is useful in many careers such as graphic design or criminal justice or simply in every day life.

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