Photographs taken by UMSL students Sarah Lowe and Kirk Helfrich were chosen as set decoration for the CBS reality series "3." Pictured are two of Lowe's photos used on set.

Ever watch a television show and see some painting or photograph in the background of a scene and wonder, “Where did they get that?”

Audiences watching the CBS reality show “3” can thank two University of Missouri–St. Louis photography students for the pictures that decorate the set “house” for that show. The program debuted at the end of July on the CBS network but was moved online after a couple of episodes. Audiences can watch the show at  It follows three single women of different ages, life experiences and backgrounds looking for true love.

Sarah Lowe and Kirk Helfrich, both seniors in studio art with an emphasis in photography, contributed their photographs to the show.

Lowe jumped at the opportunity to showcase her photos, describing it as one of the biggest accomplishments of her life.

“Although I’ve had my photographs in galleries and shows before, the amount of viewers who saw my work did not exceed more than a few thousand people.  All of a sudden, 2.3 million people would see my photography on prime time national television,” Lowe said.

The student’s Hollywood experience was made possible by Dan Younger, professor of art at UMSL. His daughter worked as a set designer on the show, and asked her father for submissions from UMSL students, as well as students from The Art Institute of Chicago.

“I am always confident in my work, but when I found out that I was up against some pretty huge competition from the Art Institute of Chicago, I began to second guess myself,” Lowe said. “When Dan called me to tell me that mine had been chosen, I sounded calm, but as soon as we hung up, I literally jumped up and down.”

She submitted about 10 photographs that she took during a recent visit to Chicago, as well as landscape photos that she’d taken during other vacations. The show chose two photos, both of Chicago.

“Amazing! It was an almost surreal feeling,” Lowe said of seeing her photos on television for the first time. “Millions of people saw my photographs, which is quite a huge thing for a college student who is still learning things every day.”

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez