Walter Diehl


Walter J. Diehl is an avid domestic and world traveler and an amateur travel photographer.  His photograph “Kittiwakes at the Glacier” won 1st prize in photography at the 2012 SAAC Cotton District Arts Festival, and “North Pole or Bust” was a finalist in the 2012 National Geographic Expedition Photography contest.  Seventeen of his photographs were finalists in the 2018 Africa Adventure Company Photography Contest, and “Baby Elephant with an Attitude” won third place in the Baby Animals category.  Walter regularly shows photographs in the lobby of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership office sponsored by the Starkville Area Arts Council (SAAC).  He and his wife Susan have been members of SAAC for many years.  Walter serves on SAAC’s Art in Public Places Committee, and he is co-chair of the Student Art Competition for the Cotton District Arts Festival.  He was elected to the SAAC Board of Directors in 2015 and to the office of President-elect in 2016.  Currently he serves as President of SAAC.  Both Susan and Walter are contributing patrons of the Starkville Community Theater (SCT) and have at different times served on the SCT Board of Directors as well as on several ad-hoc committees. 

Walter was born in 1954 in Nashville, TN. He earned the B.S. degree in Biology from the College of William and Mary, and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of South Florida.  Walter is Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences and Associate Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences at Mississippi State University where he also served as President of the Robert Holland Faculty Senate, Interim Head of Anthropology & Middle Eastern Cultures, and most recently in retirement, Interim Head of Biological Sciences.



Artist Statement

My wife Susan and I are avid domestic and world travelers, and I am the amateur travel photographer who records what we experience on those trips.  I hope that my photography not only provides viewers a glimpse into those places in the world that we have been privileged to visit but also inspires others to travel on their own and to experience the cultures and natural beauty of new or unfamiliar environments, cities, and countries. 


I do not try to be the typical travel photographer.  In fact I probably break most of the standard rules of travel photography.  Rather, I am a traveler who tries to take the best, most inspiring photographs that I can under the conditions that exist at the time.  My travel habits rarely allow me to sit in one place very long or take advantage of the best light for favored subjects.  Often either my subject or I or both are moving.  Thus, the decision about what to shoot and how to compose the shot may be made on the spur of the moment.  I often take photographs when there is little or no time to set up a scene, and I shoot rapid fire, usually taking 3-5, continuous shots of each subject.  I often photograph scenes when the light is not perfect, and sometimes when the light is downright bad.  I rarely use a monopod and almost never use a tripod.  Depending on the trip, I may focus on photographing nature (as in the current show) or on photographing architecture & culture.  That said, I usually have an idea of what I expect to encounter on a particular excursion and choose lenses, ISO, and shooting mode accordingly to allow the most effective responses to my photographic environment and rarely change them during the excursion.  In my world, scenes and subjects are rarely perfect, and so I am constantly trying to improve how I deal with this reality.


And so, I am a traveler who loves to photograph our travels.  I enjoy the reactions that other people show when viewing my photographs.  In a very real, admittedly selfish, sense, their reactions allow me to enjoy our travels all over again.  But only for a while, because now I am already thinking about how to photograph our next trip(s).


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