UVA Today’s Photographers Unveil Their Favorite 2022 Images

December 19, 2022 By Mike Mather, mike.mather@virginia.edu Mike Mather, mike.mather@virginia.edu

By the end of any year, UVA Today’s photographers – Sanjay Suchak, Dan Addison and Erin Edgerton – will have snapped thousands of images on and around the University of Virginia’s Grounds.

They range from the expected, like portraits of faculty members in the news, to the surprising, like a rainbow arcing across the Lawn. UVA Today asked each photographer to select five photos that moved him or her most this year, and explain why.

In their words, here is a year at UVA in photos.

Sanjay Suchak

Baseball opening day is a time-honored tradition heralding the start of spring and the beginning of warmer weather. This image to me seemed timeless and has me looking forward to the crack of the bat and the smell of cut grass this spring.

Baseball players in a line during the national anthem

One of the most fascinating things about working at UVA is the ways faculty find to educate students and bring practical experience into the curriculum. Architecture professor Matthew Seibert arranged for a controlled burn at the Milton Airfield as part of a lesson for his landscape architecture students on how to restore habitat.

Person setting fire to a field during a controlled burn

Portraiture is something we do a lot of here at UVA. This particular portrait of Larry Sabato might be one of my favorites. You can really sense the deep contemplation, reflection and concern that professor Sabato has for the state of our country. We’re all lucky to have his wisdom guiding us, especially over the last few years.

Larry Sabato sitting on a couch under a bunch of political signage

Using a drone to find new perspectives on Grounds is one of my passions. This particular shot of the Rotunda and the Lawn, taken this fall, really reminds me of my favorite things of being a photographer here, and that’s the amazing architecture and gorgeous ways the weather reflects back on it in unique ways to make it ever-changing throughout the year.

Aerial view of the Rotunda and the Lawns

In a tradition that started in 2019 at the Miller Center’s Prezfest, I’ve been dragging a backdrop and lights across Grounds whenever a notable speaker would come, and surprising them by asking them to sit or stand for a portrait. It’s a challenge that I like to take on and, to my delight, I have yet to be turned down. This year I brought a backdrop to make a portrait of retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as Cornel West. It happens quickly, in under two minutes, but I will capture a record of these notable figures on the day they appeared on Grounds for future generations.

Headshots left to right: Breyer and West

Dan Addison

This is from the ongoing renovation of Alderman Library. The way this image is set up, you can see both the interior and exterior views. It depicts two worlds, the seen and the unseen, and that makes it intriguing to me.

Construction crews working on the inside of Alderman library while a crane sits high outside

This was taken during summer on Grounds. A student stretched a hammock between two trees to find a quiet reading spot in the Pavilion Gardens. I like this image both for the composition and how well it reflects student life on Grounds.

Hammock on trees and a white bench in a garden of the lawn buildings

This is UVA polo player Jim Deal, preparing to hit the ball toward the goal. It is a moment frozen in time that illustrates the power of horse and rider.

Polo rider riding on a horse during a match

This is a famous tree on Grounds, known as the Pratt Ginkgo. It’s a favorite spot for students and photographers, and the afternoon sun made the tree explode with fall color. After a few years of more muted colors, I was excited to see this tree again at its full fall glory.

Bright yellow leaves on a tree near the Rotunda as the sun shines through the leaves

This is a view from the roof of Alderman Library looking down into the courtyard as glass panels are being installed in the skylight. This image illustrates the magnitude of the installation and the precision required by the construction team.

Construction worker standing on top of the glass dome at Alderman

Erin Edgerton

I saw this moment unfolding in front of me. The daughter was walking down the Lawn, and her mom was standing where the parade of graduates divides. The daughter walked up to her mom and they hugged a really long time. It felt like a culmination of all the emotions from their last four years, and what this meant to both of them. It takes a village to get to graduation, and it’s important to acknowledge family.

Graduate hugs her mother

I was thinking about how interesting, different and chaotic back-to-school photos can be, and how so much of that was lost during the pandemic. This year, it felt wonderful to see the students’ faces, and for them to fully see their classmates and teachers. With many of the COVID-19 restrictions behind us, this photo assignment just felt different and special.

UVA student holding a frame that says #UVA26

I wish I had taken this photo from the field to see the new Cavalier on horseback, Julie Caruccio, and the players storm onto the turf. But I also liked being in the stands with fans fully back in their seats, no regulations on tickets, no extra precautions. It was exciting and it felt like a promising beginning. And technically, it is a nice photo.

UVA football team running onto the field while flame shoots up into the air while the fans cheer

Oh, yeah. This was just gorgeous, perfect. It was a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I couldn’t believe I was the only one standing on the Lawn with a camera. I had been chasing this rainbow for a while and when I got to Grounds, I parked very illegally. But I got it. It was crazy. I can’t believe I got to witness that. It felt very special.

Rainbow over top of the lawn buildings

This is an important photo to summarize the UVA Strong sentiment. It felt quiet and powerful, without being intrusive. It felt like a way to summarize what had happened. The photo captures students honoring Devin, D’Sean and Lavel in their space, quietly and not flashy. I felt this photo was important to include because the loss had such a big impact on everyone this year.

Students embracing each other in front of a memorial for the football players who were lost in November

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