Capturing the Essence

UTSA’s photographer captures a pair of students signing a card on June 5, 1979, to wish a happy sixth birthday to UTSA.

Capturing the Essence

UTSA’s official photographer spends hours around and near campus to document Roadrunner life

[ This article was originally published in the UTSA newsletter The Roadrunner on September 16, 1985 ]

John Poindexter has spent hours stalking roadrunners on campus in the hope of getting close enough to the feathered university mascot for a good, clear shot. But instead of reaching for a hunting rifle when he spots one, the university photographer grabs a Nikon camera containing high-speed film.

“I have a few good pictures of roadrunners that I’ve taken over the years,” he says, “but I’m always looking for better and clearer shots of the birds in their natural environment.”

Wildlife pictures aside, Poindexter is responsible for meeting all of the university’s photographic needs. Visitors to his Office of Media Resources darkroom may find him developing some of his many images, from publicity photos to the word slides that supplement professors’ lectures and from sports shots to photographs used to illustrate student research projects.

“I enjoy the variety of subjects inherent in the work I do,” he notes. “And since I’m not tied to desk work every day, my time is very flexible. While I’ve worked here I’ve also been able to learn a lot about the things I’ve photographed—such as scientific projects, archaeological finds, and works of art.”

Poindexter also maintains UTSA’s photographic history, including campus aerial shots, his specialty during the nine years he spent as pilot/photographer before he joined the university staff in 1975. Also contained in the photographer’s files is visual documentation of UTSA’s bouts with two snowstorms and a hurricane.

“I’ve photographed some really fun situations, too, such as when Dean Dora Hauser and Dean Charles Hathaway rappelled down the Arts Building wall with Army ROTC,” he remembers. “But probably the strangest request I’ve had came for a highway department motion study of UTSA Boulevard. I stood out there for 9.5 hours, clicking off Super 8 film shots every two seconds.”