Model Professor: Shane Epping


shane headshot
University of Wyoming students received an opportunity to explore photojournalism thanks to the new Bobby Model Photojournalism Professorship.

All the way from the middle of Missouri, Shane Epping joined the Communication and Journalism Department in August 2021 as an instructor.

Epping’s interest in photography began when he received
a camera as a high school graduation gift. Since then, he has made pictures using both film and digital production on what he calls an addictive level.

“A camera has the unique ability to preserve life happenings in an environment in which many of our experiences are fleeting,” Epping said. “I like to take the time to document my surroundings, no matter the significance, from seemingly trivial to profound. It is not unusual for
an apparently mundane image to become increasingly meaningful as the clock ticks and contexts change.”

In this spirit, Epping knows that a picture in and of itself is sometimes most impactful to a single individual for whom context is completely relative.

“Photographs trigger our memories and remind us of what we have experienced: the good, the bad, the ugly. They also show us what others have experienced — offering a window into other cultures and diverse perspectives on the world where we all reside.”

For example, Epping was recently part of a team of researchers who analyzed how those living with HIV documented their lives with a camera.

The Model Professorship in Photojournalism was what drew Epping to UW. The professorship honors Bobby Model, a former UW photography student and National Geographic photographer who passed away in 2009.

“It seemed like a unique opportunity to come to a place that is willing to invest and care about photojournalism,” Epping explained. “Visual stories about our shared environment, and perhaps more importantly, those who occupy it, matter.”

Epping teaches photojournalism courses, including introductory photography and entrepreneurship as it relates to professions focused on creativity. He has experience teaching multimedia journalism inclusive of still photography, video, audio production, and website design. He also is a Federal Aviation Administration-certified remote drone pilot and has been sought out as a drone journalism instructor.

Shane in classroom

Epping believes in learning by doing, so he took two UW students to the Peruvian jungle in July 2022 to be part of Be The Change Volunteers (BTCV). BTCV is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating better education opportunities worldwide. It primarily operates in remote underdeveloped communities that have a demonstrated need for educational facilities and resources.

During the 10-days of service, Epping documented the experience so that he and the students were able to bring back the stories back to Laramie. “It’s like taking the University of Wyoming to a remote part of the world in the spirit of both education and photojournalism,” Epping added.

For Epping, this project is a way for him to honor Bobby Model and the Model Fellowship. Model was a philanthropist, making gifts to small community health clinics and rural schools in faraway places where modest contributions could make a significant impact.

“In the spirit of communication, Model travelled to different parts of the world and documented conditions that are not similar to America for people to see. That to me is social justice,” Epping said. “In the same vein, if we could travel somewhere and document stories of other people, that would keep Bobby’s spirit alive and well.”

Contact Us

COJO Department

Ross Hall Rm.#223

Dept. #3904

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3122


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