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IMAGE: treyphotos2

Trey Ratcliff: The Future of Digital Arts and the Internet

Kent State University held its first Presidential Speaker Series on March 29 at the University Auditorium in Cartwright Hall featuring world-renowned photographer Trey Ratcliff. The event was free and open to the public.
Ratcliff presented "The Future of Digital Arts and the Internet," kicking off the new speaker series initiated by Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. Ratcliff discussed the current state of digital art on the Internet, timely issues that affect artists, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and what schools and universities can do to help prepare the next generation of artists.

Ratcliff runs the number one travel photography blog in the world at, which receives more than half a million monthly page views. His photos also have accumulated more than 50 million views on social media sites Flickr and SmugMug.

Ratcliff has been described as a pioneer of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, which involves using multiple exposures and tone-mapping the result to recreate a myriad of actual light levels captured in the scene. He had the first ever HDR photograph to hang in the Smithsonian and has been featured on a variety of television networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and the BBC. His bestselling book, "A World in HDR," sold out on Amazon in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

"It is indeed a privilege to host one of the world's finest photographers," said Lefton, who has a passion for photography, prior to Ratcliff's appearance. "Trey is well known for his exploration and development of digital photography techniques, and his photographs are works of art. This event will enable the Kent State community to see the world through Trey's creative eye, and also explore and experience the evolution of digital art."

Ratcliff grew up blind in one eye, and this changed the way he experiences and visually maps the world. Combined with his degree in computer science and math, his experiences have helped him to develop a processing method that offers a depth of visualization ranges.

A book signing, dessert reception and meet-and-greet took place following Ratcliff's talk.

The Kent State Presidential Speaker Series seeks to bring high-profile, world-renowned experts to Kent State for serious, thought-provoking discussions and conversations. The new program will enhance the engagement of the world beyond Kent State's campuses, which is one of the university's strategic goals. 
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