The photographer behind the iPhone

Knoxville-based travel photographer Corey Wolfenbarger worked on four continents with several popular companies. He still does not understand how he earned his opportunities.

“Sometimes you do not know how these things happen,” Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger, 24, visited the University of Tennessee Wednesday, Jan. 31 for a talk in Lindsey Young Auditorium at John C. Hodges Library. He shared his photography journey and a few photo editing tips from apps on his smartphone.

Wolfenbarger got his start on Instagram and Tumblr in 2012. Now, his portfolio contains photos from companies like TOMS, Urban Outfitters and Holiday Inn.

Equipped with only his iPhone 5, he set his sights on the Blue Ridge Mountains and took as many photos as possible.

“I was sharing them on Instagram and getting twenty likes,” Wolfenbarger said. “Nobody was hyping my stuff but I was still really hyped on it.”

Wolfenbarger’s life revolved around photography during his college career. He often skipped class.

“I decided that if I took photos at sunrise or sunset then my photos were going to be way better,” Wolfenbarger said. “So, I would make the executive decision to not go to class anymore.”

In 2014, he decided to drop out of college. He moved in with his parents and turned his scope to the Great Smokey Mountains. Almost every day, Wolfenbarger took trips to the mountains. His photos gained popularity on social media.

New Year’s Eve 2015, something clicked to Wolfenbarger.

Surrounded by talented and successful photographers, he knew he could make a living by taking photos.

“I saw that if I work as hard as I can and stay humble and realize that I don’t know everything… give it my all and that I can do this and people will pay me eventually,” Wolfenbarger said. “If it was little at the time or whether it as nothing. I can make a living with this.”

By 2016, Wolfenbarger’s popularity increased, and he received requests to take photos. All he had at the time was his iPhone.

“I just had an iPhone,” Wolfenbarger said. “I was not going to out myself so I would make up some obscure excuse why I could not do it.”

He decided if he wanted to receive serious pay-work, he should buy a DSLR camera. New technology became a setback for Wolfenbarger because he only shot photos from his iPhone prior to requests. He knew he needed to progress.

“The DLSR was terrifying for me,” Wolfenbarger said. “I did not know how they worked. I did not know how I was going to edit my photos.”

Wolfenbarger initially struggled to learn the basics like aperture and shutter speed.

“When it clicks for you, it’s the most beautiful moment of all time,” Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger received many opportunities to work with companies in 2016, a “dream year” full of travel and unexpected chances.

Wolfenbarger continues to learn and strives to improve his photography. He is currently working several booklets and plans to travel to Yosemite National Park.

“It is very frustrating and it does have a lot of setbacks, but it is where I am at in my work right now in my photography,” Wolfenbarger said. “I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

Edited by Chelsea Babin

Featured Photo by Sage Davis

Hodges library invites students, faculty to 30th anniversary celebration

The John C. Hodges Library invited students and faculty to celebrate its 30th anniversary on Monday, Oct. 23.

To help celebrate, many organizations including like One Stop, Vol Dining and the Writing Center were represented by tables at the event. Cupcakes and punch were also provided.

Hodges Library celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. // Samantha Neal

Students could take pictures and post them to Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat with the hashtag #Hodges30 to live print their pictures at the station set up there in the library. WUTK 90.3 The Rock, the university radio station, was also set up for a broadcast at the celebration.

At many of the informational tables, attendees could attempt to answer trivia questions to win prizes. In addition to trivia games, there was a Whale Encounter, Google Earth virtual reality stations and classic arcade games to play.

Lucy, a UT student who did not want her last name shared, said she happened to go to the library while the event was taken place and decided to participate. She said she was worried she may not do well in the trivia games, but said it was all in good fun.

Other tables set up centered around the library’s anniversary. Books from 1987, the year the new library opened, were set up on stands for students to see. The Office of Information Technology was set up with a lot of old electronics that students could see and learn more about.

The technology provided an insight to how much the library and the services they provide have changed over the years. The new, renovated library was built surrounding the original building and opened in September of 1987. The library nearly tripled in square footage. For pictures of the old and new library, you can visit their website. 

Students could receive tickets for a drawing of virtual reality cardboards and other prizes.

A reception was also held immediately following the celebration.


To learn more about Hodges Library and the services it offers, visit their website.


Featured image by Zereshk

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Visiting professor discusses importance, relevance of dreams

Written by Shelby Whitehead

The murder mystery of a man and his wife, a ghost story of a man seeing his deceased mother and a man being accidentally buried alive sound like Halloween tales, but they are actually written accounts of ancient Chinese dreams.

A Vanderbilt University professor of Asian studies suggested refining the way people understand dreams from a personal experience to a way of engaging society, using Chinese dynasties of the past to inform the interpretation of the present.

Robert Campany suggested modern dreams can be influenced by past dreamers by analyzing dreams as a way to communicate with society though signs, images and meanings in his lecture “Dreaming in Common: The sociality of dreams in China,” which took place in the Lindsay Young Auditorium on Monday evening.

“To dream is to participate in a language,” Campany said.

Campany illustrates this contrary notion of dreams as being like finding fossils.  When the fossils are discovered, they are interpreted to reveal the way it may have looked in the past by what is present in the bones. It cannot be heard or seen, and its living form is invisible, but there is still an understanding of the part that is absent by the part that remains.

In the same way, dreams are suggestions and interpretations that give image to the invisible.

The beings, Campany explained, communicate through and objects or actions in dreams that sometimes defy reality, oftentimes revealing an idea that was shrouded in the waking day.

“The thing about dreams is they seem strange while we’re having them because, in them, you’re very rules of waking experience do not apply.”

Campany claimed dreams are an interactive process between individuals that can inform them of humanity and divinity. The divine use dreams as a response to devotional action, scripture, or the fulfillment of prophecy, Campany explains.

“We seem to be closed-off when we’re asleep, and open when we’re awake,” he said. “In China, the default view seemed to have been the opposite; it’s when sleeping that we are uniquely open to being touched by other beings.”

Elements of the dream and their interpretation worked as a code of science in which neither the interpreter nor the dreamer were free to assign any meaning they like to the dream’s imagery. The interpretation was bound by the code so that each symbol had a specific and static meaning written in dream book.

As a society, the Chinese would discuss the dreams, interpret the meaning, and share it as a means of communicating the abstract.

Featured image by Ryan McGill

Edited by Taylor Owens