College of DuPage Photo Student Bryan Van Zanten wins “Best in Show” at 2016 Veterans’ Art Exhibit


Bryan Van Zanten is a 20 year retired Master Sergeant Marine Corps veteran. He is currently enrolled in Photo 1201, Tools and Techniques of Digital Photography. He won “Best of Show” in the 2016 Student Veterans Art Exhibit with his image titled “Star Spangled Banner”. The  Student Veterans Art Exhibit is on display at the Wings Student Art Gallery in the  Student Services Center  Room 2210, until December 16, 2016.


“Star Spangled Banner” by Bryan Van Zanten

From the mid 90’s I had been a fan of Ansel Adams, purchasing some prints as decor for the living room. After that I began experimenting a bit with film, nothing serious, just trying to shoot more artistic shots,” he said.

 Bryan bought his first digital camera in 2003, a Sony point and shoot, which he used to take pictures as he moved from station to station around the US. When friends and family were shown the pictures he had taken, they often asked why he was not selling any of his work.

He said ”After leaving the Marines, I returned to Illinois as most of my family lives in the suburbs of Chicago. In December of 2012, I saw Christmas ad  inserts with some good prices so I decided to get an entry level DSLR. As I learned more, I began to discover how much I did not know.”

Utilizing his GI Bill from the military, he enrolled in the College of DuPage (COD) to earn an Associate’s degree in Photography.

“College of DuPage was close and also had a pretty expansive photography department so it met my needs nicely”, he said.

He entered the Photo Program to  become a better photographer, to experience multiple  photographic techniques and to explore the types of photography that interested him.

Bryan said “If it happens to lead to another career –  then fantastic!”

To see more of Bryan’s work – go to his  Instagram page.


“Still Afloat” by Bryan Van Zanten


“Shadow Dancers” by Bryan Van Zanten


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