My goal in teaching is to share my love for art, knowledge, and self-improvement in the hope that my students will discover that the motivation for educational and artistic development comes from within. I am a facilitator, someone who opens new doors and offers direction. I am there to encourage and provide a respectful atmosphere, wherein students know I will give my maximum effort in teaching, and I will expect them to work just as hard in learning. I draw from over 25 years of making photographs plus 15 years of commercial experience in sharing my technical skills and real-world knowledge. I believe students need to seek out and follow their own direction to learning, and I see myself as an enabler to this process.
I love to inspire others in photography as much as I love creating images myself. Photography is my greatest skill, something I know intimately and that I have developed diligently over many years. It is a great joy for me to see students discover a similar love for art and an awareness of the importance of photography.
I bring to the classroom the professionalism and dedication that comes from years of being an entrepreneur. Although creating art and meeting commercial photography needs are not the same, I see value in bringing a business-like approach to the classroom. It is my expectation that students will attend class, be punctual, and turn in projects at the specified deadlines. I hold myself to the same standards that I expect of my students, so they see by example that learning requires commitment.
I freely dedicate myself to my students. I want my students to feel comfortable seeing or emailing me whenever they need to. I hold regular, weekly office hours (which I started doing even as a graduate teaching assistant) during which any student can follow up on instruction from class or seek out extra help. I make myself available to former students, to students looking for guidance in areas outside of the classes they are taking with me, and to students from other disciplines who know they can come to me even if they are not enrolled in my courses.
The assessments I provide in my courses are detailed, clearly defined, and constructively critical. Each project I assign includes an outline of my expectations and a description of what I want the student to learn and to apply in their work. When students receive lower-than-expected grades, I outline clearly what they are doing well and where they need to improve. Even for students who receive excellent grades on a project, I offer ideas and suggestions for continued improvement.
I enjoy analyzing and critiquing photographic images, breaking them down through composition, theory, and historical perspective. I seek to train students to have this same critical eye of their own work and that of their peers, developing in them an appreciation for theory, history, and composition. I use the work of historical and contemporary photographers as a catalyst to inspire students in their growth and development into artists.
As a practicing artist and professional photographer, I bring real-life examples of art and photography into the classroom. I have traveled quite extensively both within the United States and internationally, teaching in China during the summers of 2006 and 2007 and in Florence, Italy during spring 2009. International teaching and travel have provided me with a global perspective that I share with students. I am a life-long learner. I continually strive to improve my skills, and I bring this self-teaching approach to my students.
I believe that creativity should never be limited by one’s technical skills. I continually strive to improve my own technique both with photographic equipment and in darkroom and digital processing. I also keep current with the latest computer software and platforms, and I am adept at using multimedia resources to enhance the classroom experience. What I want to instill most in my students is a practical knowledge – that with the right thinking and research, anything can be learned and accomplished. Even with the great array of technical skills that I can demonstrate to students, what I enjoy most is teaching them to seek out knowledge and experience above and beyond the classroom. My hope is that they will come away from my classes with an enriching experience and expanded perspective that they will carry with them through the rest of their art courses and into the future.