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FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Kevin Salemme ’89

Chris Dolan
Video Editor & MCTV Liaison

If you work at or attend Merrimack College, you almost certainly know who Kevin Salemme is: Merrimack’s school photographer, instructor, director of the Media Center, and all around wonderful guy. For years he has enlightened students’ minds with photography techniques and best practices while making Merrimack a better place through his positive attitude and always being there when you need him to be! In fact, the Media Center has long been a sanctuary on campus for students to work, hang, and get creative. We had the privilege of speaking with Kevin and learning more about him.

Are you a Merrimack College alum? (If yes, what drew you back to Merrimack Post grad?)

  • Yes, but I earned that degree after I started working in the Media Center.

When did you begin working at Merrimack?

  • In the Fall of 1984.

What is one thing you like to do for fun?

  • I like to play guitar!

What is something(s) that people don’t know about you?

  • I once escaped from a burning house.
  • I did my graduate work at Harvard University.
  • I published a book on photography aesthetics. 
  • I exhibited my photography in solo shows in Switzerland and France.

What has been your favorite project during your time here at Merrimack?

  • Since I’ve done so much traveling in my younger days, I really enjoy sharing that experience with students on the short term study abroad program called Pellegrinaggio. For the last 17 years I’ve helped on that experiential journey to Italy during spring break. I find it inspirational to guide students through the streets of small towns and big cities throughout Italy as they are also inspired by the places we see. 

What are three words that best describe you?

  • Approachable, considerate, passionate.

If you weren’t doing this for a career, what would you be doing?

  • I would be working in the arts somewhere as a photographer/artist.

Tell us about your upcoming art show this Fall! What is it, what work was selected, etc?

  • My exhibit will be at the Boston Sculptors Gallery on Harrison Ave in Boston. I know, sculpture? I’ve been collaborating with Jonathan Latiano, studio art professor in VPA, on a project to document the history of the gallery and they offered me this opportunity to exhibit there. But, they like my work too! I’m still deliberating what work I’ll show, but it will be in the form of a triptych, perhaps photographs on metal.

Why photography? 

  • Well, photography chose me. Hard to explain, but from childhood I was fascinated by how different a photograph made the world look compared with what my perception showed me. I use it as a way to keep a journal of the places I’ve been and hopefully communicate something of the feeling of being in those places. 

If there was one tip or piece of advice you would give to up and coming photographers, what would it be?

  • Don’t just photograph to fulfill assignments; photograph for yourself too. Your images will reveal to you just how you see the world, how you are growing, and help connect you to the people and places around you.