Week 13: April 16–April 23

Rebecca Bullen, Perpich, 5 hours

I was very sad to come to Perpich for the last time, as I would miss it so much. I really loved getting to know Rebecca and her incredible students. I was very lucky to have TA-ed for such a wonderful group of people at a great school. I was touched by the reactions students had when I told them it was my last day—most of them seemed sad and said they would miss me, and I felt exactly the same way. Luckily, I will get to see them for their final show, and hopefully if they can make it, they’ll come to mine as well.

Rebecca and I started as always with the darkroom class. Students were already well into working on their final. We talked a little bit about people’s projects, but it was very much a loose work day. I talked to one student in particular about their upcoming shoot—she asked about techniques for emulating Man Ray’s studio lighting styles. I talked briefly about cookies, but was honest about never having used them in my own practice. Nonetheless, we went through some of Man Ray’s images and talked about how they were probably lit. I talked about harshness of lighting, following where the shadows went, and other techniques. As always, the darkroom class ended quickly, as it is a short class. I was able to say goodbye to everyone, and thank them for such a lovely teaching experience.

Moving on to the Narrative class, today was a critique of the rough cuts of their documentary assignment. Their assignment was for students to partner up and each do a documentary on each other. I was very impressed with how interesting the students made their films with this very simple prompt. What was even more impressive was how students were able to represent each other as artists, and integrate their work and passions into the short film. 

The rest of the class, students spent the time editing for their final cut of the film. Rebecca and I assisted students and provided help when needed.

Eventually, the class period went by and it was time to say goodbye. I invited everybody to my final show at MCAD and thanked them for such a great time at Perpich. I will dearly miss working with Rebecca every week and being around her incredible students.

Week 12: April 9–April 16

Paul Sinkler, MCTC, 2.5 hours

Today was a very fun day—Paul brought in a 360 degree camera made by Ricoh. It essentially does what Google’s Street View cars do. There are two lenses on opposite sides of the camera, and a shutter button in the middle. With the help of software, the image is rendered into a 360 panorama that can be looked around at from all directions. Paul decided that one of the last assignments for the Photo 2 class before their final should be fun and make the use of cutting edge photo technology. 

Paul explained that even if this kind of technology is simply ephemera that doesn’t have practical use in the industry, it’s important to become familiar with what is technology is cutting edge. You never know what kind of technology will become important, and to know knowledge of such new and niche technologies can be extremely valuable.

We all passed around the camera taking pictures with it. Not only can it do photo, but it can also do video. After the demonstration, students were encouraged to rent it from the school, and start working on their assignment. Because of this, we had a work day, and we all left a little earlier than we normally do. 

Today was my last day at MCTC, and I’m very sad for our time together to end. I’ve had a really great time with Paul and his class, all of them have been so nice and welcoming to me since my very first day. Paul has invited me to the 2017 MCTC Photo Show that is happening at Public Functionary gallery in Northeast, and I’m really excited to see everybody there one last time.


Week 11: April 2–April 9

Linda Dobosenki, Silverwood Park, 2.5 hours

Today, I got to attend Silverwood Park’s Camera Club, which was very exciting. The group is extremely large and diverse, and there were so many new people to meet. Right away I saw familiar faces from when I came to the “Walk with a Photographer” event a few weeks before. I got a very warm welcome from Linda and everyone, and was excited to see what was in store for this month’s gathering.

Right off the bat Linda talked about the upcoming events at Silverwood, like the pinhole workshop that I’ll be helping her with. Then, we moved into a group critique. People can bring a few photos on a flash drive, and we all look at the images on a large TV and give our feedback. People asked very good questions, gave constructive feedback, and I got to hear a lot of great stories of how people took the photographs that they brought. There was a great diversity in people’s interests, which is so important to a club like this. A lot of people were really into gear, and a lot of people just cared about a good image. In the critiques we talked about composition, cropping, and people to look at for inspiration. I got to show a few of my images from my recent body of work, and explained the project. Everybody had great questions and I really loved talking to them about my work. It was such a different experience than an MCAD critique, and to have this new audience with a completely fresh perspective was a very valuable experience. I really enjoyed the discussion we had about my work, and the rest of the photographers that showed theirs. 

After this, we had a guest speaker—she was one of the Park system’s new media employee, who does everything from photography to website design for Silverwood and other parks. She gave a nice talk about her experience as an undergrad photojournalism student, and how an intensive residency program in Mexico changed her practice. Her stories about her process and mentorship in the program were really interesting, and it was great to hear about this kind of art education from such a different perspective than I’m used to.

Week 9: March 19–March 26

Total Hours: 9

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 Hours

Today, we started the darkroom class with the follow-up to my assignment, which was to read John Szarkowski’s essay, Introduction to William Eggleston’s Guide, and to take one photo with their cell phone that was either inspired by Eggleston’s work, or the Szarkowski reading.

I was so genuinely happy to see that the class enjoyed the reading. When I started our informal discussion on the reading, they all brought up extremely interesting points and asked very good questions. It was such a treat to talk to them about this reading, and to have everyone be so engaged and interested meant a lot to me.

We talked about how Eggleston’s work was very avant-garde for the time, and how his use of color was, in the 1970’s context, very unusual and extremely contemporary. I got to answer some wonderful questions about his process and John Szarkowski’s ideas of photography.

Then came the second part of the assignment—I gathered all the images they sent to me and then projected them. I was happy to see that most of the class took a photo for the assignment. When I asked them how their photographs related to Eggleston’s work, they all had really thoughtful answers. They all studied his work quite well, and we were able to reference specific photos of his just on memory. It was absolutely fantastic. 

The students had a chance to talk about their photos, and other’s photos while they were up. I also added my two cents about how their work related to Eggleston’s—I was able to talk about a lot of Szarkowski’s theories as well as photographic composition in general.

I was so impressed with the students—they’re really a great group. I am glad that they had fun with the assignment and I hope it made an impact on the way they see photography. 

Even though I was only teaching my lesson to the morning class, Rebecca asked me to show my work to her afternoon class. I was able to talk to a variety of painters and photographers about the work and it was a lot of fun.


MCTC, Paul Sinkler, 4 Hours

Today was the day that I presented my work and gave Paul’s class my assignment. Just like at Perpich, I would be showing my work throughout my MCAD career and how it’s changed over the years. 

Paul gave me a nice introduction and I got started with the presentation. I talked about how huge of an influence Eggleston was for me, and how it motivated my work. I talked about other photographers of that time, like Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld, and more. I showed them how my view of photography at this time was very rooted in the way that these 1970s documentary photographs made images. 

In the lecture, I showed a number of series that I had done over my MCAD career, and how I changed as an artist over time. I also talked about my experience in the New York Studio Residency Program, and how artists like Letha Wilson, Leslie Hewitt, and Lucas Blalock changed my work. I explained how these influences made my work gradually more sculptural. 

I ended the presentation on my two most recent bodies of work—one being a very straight photography project, and the other being sort of photo-painting

All of the students had really interesting things to say about my presentation and I really enjoyed talking to them about my work. They also had a lot of questions about MCAD, and the art world aspect of photography in general. We talked about artists’ careers, with things like selling work and getting into galleries. 

Paul was also able to chime in on his experience with both worlds of photography—the fine art and commercial side. Since he himself was an MCAD graduate, he had some very insightful things to say about both camps. 

Then, I gave them their assignment, which was to read an essay and take one photograph before next week. I printed booklets for everybody of one of my favorite photography essays, Introduction to William Eggleston’s Guide by John Szarkowski. This was a very formative essay for me, and I was especially interested in providing a bit of knowledge from my art education into their commercial/technical photograph class. For next week, they are to read the essay and take one photograph with their cell phone that is either inspired by Eggleston’s photographs, or by Szarkowski’s writing. 

I had a really nice time showing the class my work, and I loved talking to them about fine art photography. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the students send me over the week!

Week 8: March 12–March 19

Total Hours: 11.5

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5.5 Hours

Today I taught the first part of my lesson to the class. First, I gave a presentation on my work to the class. Since this was a high school photography class, I wanted to start my lecture with when I first got into photography. I told them about my high school teacher, Patrick Frankman, and how he showed our class the work of William Eggleston. 

I talked about how huge of an influence Eggleston was for me, and how it motivated my work. I talked about other photographers of that time, like Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld, and more. 

In the lecture, I showed a number of series that I had done over my MCAD career, and how I changed as an artist over time. I also talked about my experience in the New York Studio Residency Program, and how artists like Letha Wilson, Leslie Hewitt, and Lucas Blalock changed my work. 

The real lesson of this lecture was to show them that there was no one way to do photography, and that I realized that I needed to broaden my horizon on how I saw photography. Now, my work is much more different than it was, and I was able to show them how I got there.

I brought a few of William Eggleston’s monographs to let them look at, so they could get familiar with his work. I was really surprised to see how much they seemed to like his work. They were very interested in the way he used color, and his style of photography. 

I also passed out printed booklets of the essay Introduction to William Eggleston’s Guide by John Szarkowski, a seminal figure in photography writing. This reading was very formative for me, and I first read the essay when I was their age. 

Their assignment was to take one photograph with their cell phones that was either inspired by Eggleston’s work, or by the Szarkowski essay.

I really enjoyed giving the presentation of my work, the students in Rebecca’s class are incredible—they were great listeners, were really engaged, and I loved talking to them about photography. 


MCTC, Paul Sinkler, 4 Hours

Today in Paul’s class, it was a lot of demonstrations of technical aspects of the photo editing software, Capture One. He used the projector to walk everybody through simple exercises like resizing images, making sessions, editing IPTC content, exif data, and metadata presets. 

These are all very important things in the commercial photography world. For example, if your image were to circulate around the internet without your control, the file would still be embedded with your name, copyright, company name, and contact information—that is, if you embedded the IPTC information in your files. Also, learning how to resize your images in batches is something a photographer has to do regularly when submitting to clients, or for the web. 

The class seemed to like Lightroom’s versions of these tools better than Capture One, and I could see why. Lightroom’s interface for editing and exporting seemed more streamline. However, Capture One is also an important industry standard. 

Paul also went over how to adjust key-stoning, when images distort perspective lines. This is particularly useful for architecture and documentary photography. Capture One makes it really easy to correct lens distortion, and is an ideal tool for doing it in batches. 

The next features Paul went through were exporting images with specific file naming conventions—something that is super important not only for client use, but for personal organization as well. Paul had students name files in the style of “YYYYMMDD_001,” so year, month, day, and then a three digit sequence. I do something very similar to my files as well.

I was able to walk around and help students if they got behind following along on the demonstration, or if something wasn’t working, which I always enjoy. Although I’m not too familiar with Capture One, I was able to use my knowledge of similar programs and Paul’s demonstration to troubleshoot with students.


Silverwood, Linda Dobonski, 2 Hours

Early in the morning, I was excited to meet Linda at Silverwood park for her “Walk with a Photographer” program! We all met in front of the visitor center at 8am, and I was able to grab some donuts from Glam Doll beforehand for the other people coming. I brought with me my Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35mm camera.

It was wonderful meeting everybody who came—they were all really excited to take picture and talk about photography. They were very kind and were interested in what I did as an MCAD student. I told them a little about my work, and in turn they told me about their’s!

Most people were shooting digital, but one student was shooting a stereoscopic Holga camera that would create 3-D images. After the morning’s shoot, they usually upload their images to a group Facebook page. 

It was a very brisk morning, but we were all bundled up enough to get some great shots. The river was frozen and looked very beautiful. The best thing about taking photos in a group is seeing just how different everybody’s approach is on the same subject. Different not only in how they would take the pictures, but in what they would take pictures of exactly. The wonderful part about this is you are able to see more things than you would normally see, and pay attention to other details you may miss. Having another more people to add additional perspectives is such an important part of photography.

After we all finished with our morning walk around the park, we all went inside to sit by the fire, drink coffee, and talk. 

Linda and I got to talk about the fine art photographers we like, and found out that we’ve both worked for JoAnn Verburg in the past. We were all able to talk about things like film vs. digital, different photo formats, and other things like that.

It was such a fun time being able to meet everybody who came. If I remember correctly, everybody that came are part of the Camera Club that gathers every month at Silverwood. I’m very excited to attend next month’s meeting and see them all again soon! 

Week 7: March 5–March 12

Total Hours: 5

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 Hours

Today at Perpich, Rebecca and I started with the morning darkroom class. This week they were finishing up one of their assignments and making final prints. The assignment was called “A Sense of Place,” and most of the images were of either places that students routinely frequented, were emotionally significant, or were a sort of externalization of personal identity. 

To finish the assignment, students had to make a final black and white print of the image in the darkroom. Since they were familiar with doing test strips from their contact sheets, they started with doing this for their final image. I really enjoyed helping the students with their test strips and prints—we mostly talked about getting true blacks and highlights, contrast filters, and gauging what makes a good exposure.

We also got to dive into techniques of dodging and burning, where you use tools like cut-out shapes or your hand to block certain parts of the print to either lighten or darken exposure on select areas. 

One student wanted to burn certain areas of her print, but her overall exposure time for the print was too short, so I told her that she’d have to start over on another print entirely. I said that she’d have to increase her f-stop from 4 to 16, so she would have more time to expose the print while she was burning. This involved doing a lot of math calculating the stops between exposures. I did my best to explain the concept of exposure stop reciprocity, and how one could semi-easily calculate different exposure times with different f-stop numbers. I also helped another student experiment with quite a few contrast filters on their final print.

Then, as always, we headed up to the afternoon narrative class. This was mostly a work day for the students, as they are getting closer to shooting their final films.

My favorite part of this class day was helping one group scout a location on the Perpich campus. They were going to be shooting a post-apocalyptic short film in the woods. The script was nice, and very practically shootable. We talked about the structure of the script and the antagonist’s motivations. I was really excited, because I was able to help him with a sort of problem in the script. I went back to the classroom after scouting the location, sat down, and read his script a few times.

I discovered that by switching a few lines of dialogue between characters, it would make the antagonist’s motivations more clear and add tension earlier in the story that would foreshadow the ending well. I was really happy that he liked the suggestion, and he ended up stopping me and thanking me before I left. 

It felt good to have something to contribute that made a significant impact on their project! I’m very excited to see how the film turns out!

Week 6: February 26–March 5

Total Hours: 8.5

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 hours

This week at Perpich, the darkroom class was cut short due to an all-school meeting in their auditorium. Since this class is only around 50 minutes long normally, it was cut short to only a half hour. 

Because of this, Rebecca had me help Evan, her student TA, with installing two photo pieces and a video installation for their upcoming exhibition. We had to act fast since the show’s reception was happening that night. Evan and I worked on getting the videos looping on the computer, but by the time we finished that he had to leave to attend the all school meeting.

When he left, I finished installing the photo pieces—I had the last minute help of Josh Olson, my friend and Perpich Media Center manager!

After that, I headed to the narrative class with Rebecca. We discussed screenwriting and Rebecca had the students write a short abstract on their screenplays to briefly explain the theme and plot. After each student read theirs aloud, the we commented on their ideas and discussed whether or not they were reasonably shootable with their resources. We also talked about the cast and crew that would be needed for each screenplay. 

Rebecca went through all of the different crew positions students would need to fill for their projects like: director, producer, writer, editor, cinematographer, assistant camera, sound, food, hair and makeup, etc. We also talked about the responsibilities of each crew position, and how they might overlap on a small project. 

Only a certain amount of students wanted to shoot the script they had written, so after we had a list of them, we asked the students to create a sign up system so that everyone could help each other with their projects and make sure all the positions were filled. It was around here that students worked among themselves and Rebecca and I were done for the day.


MCTC, Paul Sinkler, 3.5 Hours

This week in Paul’s class, we went over their recent assignments that were due, and then did a small demonstration in the photo editing software CaptureOne. 

The first assignment that we went through was from one of the first exercises I helped with in my first week or so. This was the macro assignment. Students had to present macro photos from a number of different techniques—like using a standard macro lens, a non-macro lens with an extension tube, and flipping a standard lens backwards. Students had an excellent grasp on the assignment and I got to see some very gorgeous macro images. My favorite images were from one student who photographed a record player and a cribbage board!

The next assignment we went through was from when we, as a class, photographed a still like with three different cameras, then ran them through different image editing softwares to compare raw file processing from Lightroom and CaptureOne. We used the projector to compare everyone’s files. 

Also, an assignment I wasn’t present for earlier on in the class, was the assignment where students got to use Lensbaby lenses. They are essentially inexpensive toy lenses that create tilts and shifts in focus for very soft ethereal images. Those were incredibly fun to see, since it was such an open-ended assignment that yields very interesting and unconventional photographs. There were some flower pictures from one student that were very beautiful.

Critique was done, and Paul shifted gears to show a few short video tutorials from Lynda.com on CaptureOne to introduce some of the features of the application to the class. After that, Paul went over simple functions of CaptureOne like importing images, and batch renaming files with added EXIF data, which is important in the artistic and commercial industry. These are things that can be done in Adobe Lightroom, but Paul goes over both programs as they have distinct advantages and disadvantages from each other. 

Week 5: February 19–February 26

Total Hours: 4.5

MCTC, Paul Sinkler, 4.5 Hours

This week, MCTC didn’t have class on Wednesday like they normally do, so Paul suggested I come to his Tuesday morning class instead. Unlike the Photo 2 class, which is mostly about technical exercises, I got to come to the Portfolio and Presentation class.

This class met in a different classroom, and was structured very differently. As one of the last classes students take before graduating, the discussions were more open ended and nuanced. 

Students have been working on diverse commercial portfolios, and it was incredible to see everybody’s work. There were just endless amounts of incredible commercial photographs. 

The photos were presented on a projector, and Paul manned the computer and I sat among the students. Somewhat like MCAD’s critiques, Paul would call among people to contribute their opinions on the presenters work. It was really interesting being among a class that is commercially oriented, versus a critique focusing on artwork. The vernacular of an art school critique was mostly not present, but the core of the critique was the same. 

I was able to add my voice in critique on a lot of the landscape and environment images, which was really enjoyable. I remember some really amazing fashion shots from one student that was models by a pool in summer that was very stylized and memorable—the same student also showed images from a shoot in the woods with models that were very cinematic and well edited.

In the critique, I talked a lot about composition, context, and technical things like white balance or exposure. Unfortunately, as I don’t know much about commercial photography, I felt like I had little to add to the discussion on things like lighting, models, and studio work. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the discussion immensely and felt like I learned a lot.

There was such a wide variety of work, both in style and proficiency, and it was wonderful to see and discuss. I’m looking forward to seeing more work from MCTC students.

Week 4: February 12–February 19

Total Hours: 8.5

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 hours

Today, Rebecca and I started by demonstrating contact printing to the Darkroom class. All of the students had a roll of film shot, and Rebecca and I showed them how to cut the negatives, put them in holders, and make a contact sheet.

I set up the darkroom chemicals and we got started. We showed students how to do a test strip to get the exposure right on the contact sheet print. We did this by cutting a small piece of gelatin silver black and white paper into a thin strip, and using a notebook to block the light, we made a gradient of exposure times using the enlarger timer. 

After we determined our exposure, which was around 10 seconds at f/11, the students made their contact sheets and put them through the developer, stop, and fixer. The best part was taking them out of the darkroom to see how the prints really looked, because they always look a bit different in the dark, so seeing them in the light is really special. 

Everybody made a successful contact sheet by the end of class. I broke down the darkroom, and Rebecca and I moved on to the afternoon filmmaking class.

In narrative class, we watched Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. It’s a wonderful movie and I particularly enjoyed seeing it again. Rebecca had arranged for a screenwriter to come in this whole week and workshop the screenwriting process. So, when we watched the movie, we were watching with a particularly critical eye. 

The goal was to see how Wes Anderson followed traditional script structure. He stopped the movie in different sections to point out what act the movie was in, where it transitioned from act I to II, and the significance of the midpoint scene and climax, and where they fit in a script.

He did a wonderful job talking about screenwriting, and it reminded me a lot of the filmmaking classes I’ve taken at MCAD. I’m excited to see what the students will come up with for their scripts, as they are such talented artists!


Paul Sinkler, MCTC, 3.5 Hours

Today in class we reviewed the images that we shot as a class last week. Paul pulled them up on the projector and we got to compare the files from the Phase One medium format digital camera, a Nikon D810, and a Canon 5D Mark IV. The Phase One, the $15,000 camera, performed only a little better than the other two much cheaper options.

We had a little hiccup with this exercise in class though—since the Canon 5D Mark IV camera is so new, some of the versions of Adobe Photoshop on the lab computers hadn’t been updated, so they couldn’t process the RAW files from the Canon. We had to abandon the assignment entirely until next week so the computers can be updated. 

Instead, we started the next assignment early. Paul gave a Powerpoint on different kinds of Raw file processors. We mainly compared two programs: Adobe Camera Raw through Photoshop and Lightroom, and another program called Capture One. I had personally never used Capture One, but it is Adobe’s biggest competitor for image editing software in the Photo industry.

While Paul gave the walkthroughs of the programs, I walked around and was giving help to students. Since I know Lightroom and Photoshop very well, I was able to give pretty good explanations on how things work. I work a lot with these programs for my practice, so I have memorized a lot of where things are when using the application. Even though I had never used Capture One, I was able to use my knowledge of similar programs to help the students with the interface of the program.

We went over techniques like: making a catalog in Lightroom, default Raw file image processing, sharpening, and lens profile corrections.

After that, we compared the differences between the two programs, and how they processed the photographs differently. It was a fun day and I really enjoyed talking to the students and getting to know them more.

Week 3: February 5–February 12

Total Hours: 9

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 hours

Today at Perpich, Rebecca and I started with her darkroom photography class. They had just finished shooting a full roll of film, and we went over how to rewind the film in the camera, take it out, and remove the film from the roll container. Then we used a dummy roll of film to reel it into a plastic spool in the light, so they would be able to do it in the dark. 

I got to give them humorous anecdotes about the first time I loaded the film into spools in a dark room, and how much more difficult it is than one would imagine. After Rebecca gave them a short demo on the loading, students partnered up and went into the loading room. 

One of the students had already shot their film and loaded it, so Rebecca asked me to show them how to develop their film one-on-one. We went into the developing area and I explained the order of using the chemicals and what each one did. We set the timer and prepped our materials, and I showed them how to agitate the film. After the developer, stop bath, fix, and wash, they successfully developed their first roll of film.

I was very impressed, and it looked like all of the images were perfectly exposed! I wish my first roll of film would have went that well! I really enjoyed my time developing with them. We talked about photography, MCAD, and I shared my personal experience as a photographer. 

After the darkroom class, we started the afternoon narrative class. Rebecca had assigned that the students read the screenplay to the Sundance film, Pariah, from 2011. They all broke into groups and analyzed a scene, and imagined what it would look like filmed. Since screenplays are widely interpretive and subject to change, we watched the entire film after to see how these scenes ended up playing out. 

After watching the film, they met back with their groups to start planning their own screenplay.


Paul Sinkler, MCTC, 4 Hours

Today was an exciting day in class, because most of class was a hands on exercise and demonstration. Paul started class by giving a lecture on the different kinds of digital cameras, and the kinds of sensors they have, and a comparison of them all. 

Digital cameras started off being digital backs that would be used in place of film backs for medium format cameras like Hasselblads. These still exist today, but part of Paul’s lecture, was that consumer digital cameras have advanced so much, that the cost of a digital back may not be worth it. 

We compared four cameras side by side: the Hasselblad with a digital back, a Phase One medium format digital camera, a Nikon D810, and a Canon 5D Mark IV. The difference between these cameras being $15,000 price tags (the medium format digitals) versus around $3000 (the Nikon and Canons).

After the lecture, Paul and I set up a still life and a spot for a portrait with some strobes. Since I almost never use strobes in my photography practice, one of Paul’s students was kind enough to help me set it up! And although I had never used a medium format digital camera like the Phase One, I was able to figure it out pretty quickly!

We had the students photograph the setups with their own cameras, and Paul and I photographed with the four cameras mentioned. It was important for this test to be accurate, so each camera was shot with the exact same setting under the exact same conditions.

For the portrait, I was the model, so everybody got to photograph me from the same angle. The students and I all got to share a good laugh at my skills as a model, and it was truly a good time. Paul really creates a great teaching atmosphere that is both extremely informative and also a lot of fun.

After we finished, I help Paul tear down the equipment and we uploaded the images so that the students could use them next week to edit and compare the image quality.

Week 2: January 29–February 5

Total Hours: 9

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 Hours

In my second week at Perpich, we started off the morning darkroom class with a critique on their current photogram project. I was surprised to learn that none of the students in the class are in the visual art department, meaning that they have little to no formal art training. It was surprising because I thought the work from these students was incredibly strong—I was very impressed with how experimental and successful their photograms were. 

After critique in the morning class, Rebecca and I moved into the longer Narrative class. We went over the roles of a traditional filmmaking crew. Everything from writer, director, producer, assistant director, cinematographer, propmaster, make-up, and so on. 

She went on to show three films to the students illustrating different important points in filmmaking. I particularly enjoyed the two films, Peel and Passionless Moments by a New Zealand filmmaker, Jane Campion, who I had not yet heard of. I knew I could draw on concepts from Passionless Moments when I talk about my lesson and assignment for the class in the near future. 

After some discussion about the films, students were assigned into groups to work on their own. Starting in the ideating and storyboarding stage, most students left the classroom to work in their groups. From here, I walked around to talk to each group individually over the course of the next couple hours. The groups ranged from being very on-board with each other, to still shooting around to a single idea.

I was very impressed with how well they all work with each other. From only being here for two weeks, it seems like an amazingly inclusive group—much more inclusive than I remember my own high school. I really enjoyed talking to the students about their ideas and seeing how each time I circled around and came back to a group, how much their idea had changed or grown.

I’m looking forward to next week and seeing where their projects are at!


MCTC, Paul Sinkler, 4 hours

Today I shadowed Paul in his Photography 2 class at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. He started off by introducing me to his students, and going over their last week’s assignment. 

The assignment was a technical exercise about back-button focusing on DSLR cameras, and tracking a moving subject. I myself hadn’t learned the advantages of using back-button focusing until now! One of the students came in with some very exciting photos from a rodeo where he used back button focusing to capture neat photos. I thought this was a very good use of this exercise.

After going over each student’s photos individually and troubleshooting the problems they faced, he introduced the next assignment. This week’s lesson was in macro photography. Paul went over the definition of macro, and the confusion around the term macro and how it’s misused. 

In photography, a true macro image is 1:1, meaning the size of the subject is rendered at its same size on the film or sensor. There are many ways to get a macro image, the first being a macro lens. Another way is to flip a camera lens backwards, reversing the optics. The third way, is to use an extension tube. This is because the farther away the lens is from the film or sensor, the closer it can focus on a subject. By distancing the lens with a simple tube, one can make any lens a macro lens. 

After the lesson, students were given a few macro lenses and extension tubes, and were instructed to take shots of things around the classroom using these tools. Paul and I assisted students one on one if they were having difficulty with the concepts or the equipment. I think I was able to troubleshoot a few things quite well, and Paul did a great job explaining the science behind the ideas. 

It was wonderful meeting the students and to work with Paul.

Week 1: January 22–January 29

Total Hours: 5

Perpich, Rebecca Bullen, 5 Hours

Today I started my first week TA-ing for Rebecca at Perpich and was welcomed very warmly by both her and the students. We began with her morning class by doing photograms in the darkroom. I helped set up the chemicals and assisted Rebecca with troubleshooting some enlarger problems. I also got to see my good friend Josh Olson, who works at the media center, or as they call it, “the bat cave.”

I was so happy to see how well everybody was doing with their work. These students are really incredible. I couldn’t have gotten a better vibe from the students and their relationship with Rebecca. Everybody was incredible nice to me—I felt very well received.  

After the morning class I put away and cleaned the darkroom materials, then proceeded to spend the afternoon with Rebecca’s narrative class. They had been introduced an assignment to shoot a narrative film that they’d written and had storyboards for. Rebecca and I walked around all over checking up on how the groups were doing. During this time I also got a more in-depth tour of the school. 

Once they were done shooting, they came back to the classroom to begin editing. I offered up my help to anybody who needed it with Adobe Premiere. Here I also got a better chance to chat with the students and Rebecca about what it’s like at Perpich.

It was wonderful to hear all of the students talking about their projects and about art in general. I smiled when I heard them say very art-world words. I was astonished at all of their knowledge and skill when it came to their craft. They were no doubt way ahead of me when I was their age! I had an absolutely wonderful time, and I can’t wait to continue!