I’ll be teaching a class to incoming photography graduate students at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication, starting next week. It’s a boot camp, a foundation course, a challenge to get grad students up and running and making pictures and telling stories in ways they’d not yet thought of. It’s going to be a blast.
Prepping to teach this class has taken a good bit of time, thus the absence from this space.
Don’t fret, I’ll still be working with photographers the world over, as always. The class lasts six weeks so during that time, I’ll cut back on working with photographers to one or two days a week.
This will be the first term-long class I’ve taught since teaching a beginning photography class at a community college in Anchorage in 1978. But that’s another story.
Figuring out this course’s syllabus and assignments in a way that allows newbies and more experienced photographers to learn equally was a challenge, for sure. They’ll start by pairing off and photographing each other with specific expectations of the photos that result. Then they’ll move on to photograph five people they don’t know, the choice of subjects has to hold together as a group. Then they’ll continue to photograph one of the five people at greater depth - whichever one has the best story, greatest potential.
After that, each one will be assigned to photograph an area of downtown Syracuse, a block or two, building two separate stories, one individualized and one essay. And finally, they’ll do a thematic set of pictures before wrapping up the course with a narrated piece that tells a specific story from within the course.
Piece of cake, no?
It may well be that I’ll continue to teach at Newhouse, a course here and there as an adjunct. Figuring out new ways to challenge photographers in a classroom is enticing.
It’s a pleasure being associated with such a great team of folks at Newhouse, including Bruce Strong, who as of Sunday will be the new chair of the Multimedia, Photography and Design department. It’s the only program I know of that integrates the three visual disciplines into one department that is part of a phenomenal communications school.
Here’s to learning.