Photo exhibit to feature work of FHU vice president

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This Vires photo, featuring FHU Baseball alum Zack Sanders (‘23), is titled “All In.”
Taken near the summit of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, this photo is titled “Taking It All In.”

What began as a hobby for Dr. C.J. Vires, Freed-Hardeman University vice president for academics and provost, has developed into a passion that allows him to share his photographs with others. The public is invited to Vires’ first gallery showing Feb. 19 – March 18, 2024, in Troy Plunk Art Gallery in the Bulliner-Clayton Visual Arts Building. The title, “The Fields of Dreams,” comes from Vires’ love of baseball and the prairies of the American West. A closing reception is planned for March 18, 2024, from 6:30-8 p.m. The gallery presentation will be at 7 p.m.
Vires began taking wildlife pictures in 2001 on a trip to the western United States. The Vires family repeated that trip in 2017. “I guess that’s when I became a more serious hobbyist. I bought a new camera and some new lenses and started consulting with a professional photographer, Jud Davis, who also teaches photography at FHU,” he said. 
Vires enjoys wildlife photography. One wall of the show will feature some of those pictures. With three big trips out West, Vires also has “a pretty good collection of landscapes from those trips.”
A more recent set of subjects has become the FHU baseball team. “I really enjoy capturing the passion, personality and performance moments in baseball,” Vires said. “And if I had to pick from the three of those, I’d probably lean toward the passion and personality aspects. I just enjoy capturing the players in the moment.”
“Dr. Vires has a shared passion for baseball and photography,” Davis said. “For C.J., it goes beyond a hobby and has become a passion.”
Most of all, Vires loves sharing his photos with the players and their families. “The players are always very appreciative,” he said. “I know they will be even more appreciative 20-30 years down the road.” Because he is at the field so much and at so many games, he has established friendships with the players. He stays in touch with several after their graduations. “Those relationships likely started because of a photo I took and shared with them,” Vires said.
Shooting baseball comes with a special set of challenges, Vires said. First among those is lighting. “It’s always different, even within the same inning,” he said. Second is knowing the game and anticipating where the action is going to occur. “Another challenge is getting to know the players, so they act natural around you. The players are intense gladiators on the field,” Vires said, “but they are also crazy, goofy college students.” After the game, and sometimes during the games, players pose for the photographer. The show will include photos of two catchers who posed during the action. Those pictures are aptly titled “Posers.”
“C.J.’s work illustrates what any photographer worth his or her salt believes: time and practice truly make you better,” Davis said. “A great photographer never stops learning and never stops practicing.”
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees. More information is available at

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