Sometimes the best project idea is the one right under your nose.

This picture from the spring came up in last night’s film developing frenzy. I was on my way to school with my “new” 8×10 Burke & James in the car when I ran into former student Olivia Bosies, fresh off the boat from a morning training session with the crew team she coaches. I hadn’t had much chance to test out the camera, so she was nice enough to stand still long enough for me to expose a few sheets of film. If you know Olivia, you will know what a favor standing still for anyone is for her!

Making Olivia’s portrait got me thinking about all the interesting things that recent BFA grads end up doing once they leave school. I know that my own journey has been full of surprises, as the world I was trained for in college pretty much imploded as I was walking off the graduation platform. My 20’s were marked by struggle and turmoil. In those pre digital days, I rarely had the extra cash to buy film, so a lot of those adventures went unrecorded in photographs. Now I’m watching my students go through similar adventures.

After 10 years of teaching photography full time, I feel that the time is right for me to take a serious look at the lives I’ve been trusted to influence as a teacher, and to reflect upon the efficacy and outcomes of that effort. As an educator I think it’s pretty tough not to teach to the world we knew growing up, even as it’s changing all around us. Should I get the chance to continue this vocation in the years ahead, I want to know what needs to change, and what still works. As an artist, I can’t help but want to make pictures about it.

So If you’ve ever been a student in one of my classes, I want to hear from you. Don’t be surprised if I ask in the weeks ahead to stop by for a visit, make some pictures and record your thoughts on video…. and feel free to offer your thoughts even if I don’t ask!


Posted by scoopneil

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