After 28 years, a popular Utah State University photography professor is retiring.

R.T. Clark has been honored by his students with an exhibit of their best representative work, displayed on the USU campus in the Twain Tippetts Gallery, along with seven of Clark's photographs.After the exhibit closes, they will turn the 44 photographs over to the longtime teacher and former art department head.

The exhibit, "Light Passages," will be open until June 9, and arrangements to see it can be made by contacting the USU art department.

Many of the photographers have included statements regarding their work, their careers and their professor's influence.

Their careers vary. One of the earliest graduate students is now America's top rodeo photographer. Another is a successful commercial photographer. Several do magazine and book illustration.

One concentrates on architectural photography. Another is a highly creative wedding photographer. And there is a top New York fashion photographer who was in the USU program. There are a number who have followed in Clark's footsteps and teach.

What has brought Clark satisfaction during his USU years? "Where I live, " he said. "My family. Being able to do what I wanted to do and working with people.

"Working with young people, getting them light sensitive and excited."

His carefully located home in Smithfield Canyon has that light he loves so much, streaming through its 85 windows. He expects to finally get around to putting in a darkroom, then digging through and printing some of his mountain of negatives that have never seen the light of an enlarger. While he teaches his last classes before his own new beginning, he is a vibrant teacher down to the wire.

His attention to the photographs is complete, but comments are not without personal interjections. A slide of an old car brings out expert knowledge of the differences in a '29 and a '30 Model A Ford, and his sessions encourage participation. Student comments are called for and listened to.

Students are at ease, learning even when being rapped for a blunder and feeling better about the particular mistake when Clark acknowledges doing the same thing during his long career as a working, teaching photographer.

He is fastidious, with a fine eye for color, and the knowledge that shows an aspirant how to get the best possible return from trying and trying again.

With advanced classes, he demands more than snapshots.

"You should consider your personal approach. Approach each situation professionally, artistically and as seriously as you can.

"Develop the ability to think, interpret and design.

"And, I know it will work," Clark said.