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SLU SLHS Chairperson Uses Gift of Photography to Raise Money for a Good Cause

Saint Louis University (SLU) Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (SLHS) Chairperson Travis Threats, Ph.D., recently put his photography skills towards a good cause by donating multiple pieces of his work to be auctioned off at an art fundraiser sponsored by the SLU School of Medicine’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The goal of the DEI office is to fund programs to expose children to healthcare careers through interactive courses. 

Dr. Threats at Art Auction
Dr. Travis Threats at the SLU Internal Medicine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Art Fundraiser.

Dr. Threats explained that he has always had a strong interest in the arts. While he appreciated music, dancing, sculpture, painting, etc., he did not necessarily have a knack for participating in those forms of art. He did, however, realize that he had an eye for visual arts and thought he could be good at photography. Dr. Threats discussed when he first became interested in photography years ago.

“I used all the money from my summer job after my freshman year in college to buy a camera.  I spent money on nothing else so I could afford it by the end of the summer,” Dr. Threats said. “In college, I had access to a darkroom and thus learned to develop my own pictures.”

As life got busier, Dr. Threats passion for photography simmered as only a hobby for years. Then, a personal tragedy brought that passion back to serve as an emotional outlet.

“I did much less photography starting in graduate school. After having children, my higher-level photography ceased entirely and all I took pictures of were my children's sports events, birthday parties, and general documentation them growing up.  Over 30 years without practicing seriously, although I still kept my eye for photography by seeing something and saying that would be a great picture,” Dr. Threats said. “In 2017, my wife of 30 years died at age 53.  Despondent, I talked to Father Murphy – the Doisy College of Health Sciences campus minister at the time. He told me that I needed to pour my love into something else, and it could not be work. I decided to refocus on my photography and brought my first good digital camera.”

Dr. Threats explained how he is inspired by the everyday beauty in the world around him and primarily focuses on that for the subjects of his photographs.

“I mainly take pictures of nature.  My view is that God reveals Himself through the world that He made for us. The extraordinary world is around us in our everyday environment, not just when we go on vacation or trips to unique places,” Dr. Threats said. “Although I take pictures when I go to other countries, my love is to take pictures right here in St. Louis, where I live. That is because we should see God in all things, not just the so called ‘special’ places. I encourage all of us, no matter where we live, to look around our daily lives in nature - our own yards, outside where we work, our neighborhood park.”

The art of photography has served as a medium through which Dr. Threats has been able to strengthen his faith. In 2021, he started his company, God is in the Details Photography, as a way to share his appreciation of God’s gifts with others, and to share his thoughts through his Christian blog.

“Through sharing my photos, I hope to have others feel that same sense of wonder about what is around us in our everyday world,” Dr. Threats said.

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.