Lurth believes that the visual arts are a language that transcends written and spoken forms of communication. “I was initially drawn to photography because of its storytelling abilities,” he says. “The camera has this amazing ability to introduce you to places, people, and situations that you may never be able to experience yourself. I discovered design a while later, but the thread that connects the two for me are the mediums’ abilities to communicate ideas and influence people's opinions and spark actions.”
“All of my formal education in photography and graphic design has been in the fine arts,” Lurth says, “but much of my professional experience has been working commercially.”
Lurth earned his graduate degree from the University of Iowa in 2012. Since then, he has worked as a public relations photographer for a minor league baseball team, as a front-end web designer, and as the director of visual media at Luther, all while teaching part-time.
“In that role, I oversaw two student-staffed groups [Video Bureau and Photo Bureau] that were responsible for producing nearly all of the photo and video marketing content the college used,” he says. “I feel that my disciplines, more than any other art forms, straddle the divide between the commercial world and the fine art world. My experience has enabled me to float between those two worlds and help our students navigate that as well.”
Lurth’s current work explores some of his past experiences with anxiety. “The end product will be large-format prints of reenactments (much like movie stills) of moments in my life when I have felt anxious and out of place,” he says. “My hope with this project is to use humor to get people talking about the moments in their own lives when they have felt similarly, and to remind us all that what is going on inside people's heads may be different from what we see on the surface.”
Lurth and his colleague professor Kate Elliott co-led a trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Macau. “The course was centered around street photography and the ethics of photographing people,” he says. “We had an amazing group of 16 students who were willing to step out of their comfort zones to engage and exchange with cultures quite different from their own.”
“I love watching people grow, transform, and become new versions of themselves. It’s rewarding to help people figure out what they would like to do with their lives, tackle hard questions, come to those ‘ah-ha’ moments, and go on to contribute to the world in unexpected and exciting ways.”
“When I’m not working, I’m usually cycling, watching WAY too much Netflix, and playing video games. Yes, I’m a grown man who still likes video games.”