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  1. #1
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    An interesting change in the school environment

    Our oldest granddaughter signed up for photography at her HS, and started in digital. She then asked to try film. They gave her a camera, a very nice Vivitar, but it broke. The film transport was stuck. So, they gave her a second camera that seems OK. We gave her a camera as well.

    Anyhow, as it turns out, there is no budget to repair the broken camera and no money to replace it (them). So, as they break down, they are just taken out of service it seems and analog photography will thus begin a slow decline.

    I'm not sure of the details as this comes in abbreviated form from a teen over dinner, but it seems a shame to see analog die this way, when there are those willing to learn.

    PE

  2. #2
    Derek Lofgreen's Avatar
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    There is a very strong intro to photo in my kids high school. I would love to have a darkroom as nice as theirs. I was talking to the instructor and he said it's easier for him to maintain the film program himself because he doesn't have to rely on the schools IT department to keep his computers running etc. He starts them off making pinhole cameras and then up to 35mm. After that class the kids can study digital photography but the school only has budgets for PS digi cameras and it's called digital media studies.

    D.
    My Photography Site www.lofgreenimages.com and My Blog

  3. #3
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    That's a shame. They annihilated darkroom film at my university my Junior year because the only professor fluent in darkroom work was retiring and they felt no need to replace him--all this to my amazement since the class was always full with a wait list. Go figure.

    I find analog photography to be one of the greatest teaching tools underutilized in our current schools. Learning the processes from my research teacher, I learned mechanics, physics, chemistry, and art all in one subject. Is there anything else that comes close to that?
    K.S. Klain

  4. #4

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    Sometimes I wonder if analog programs are dropped in public schools due to uninformed notions about photography, and what photographic (or art, for that matter) education is, or must be. I think often it is a budgetary choice ("we can't do both"), when, in fact the basics (and actually more of the actual basics) can be learned with film equipment, which doesn't need to be upgraded for technological reasons. Local museums and independent art education institutions still teach wet process, along with digital if they can afford the digital hardware.
    My guess is that the hardware investment is also seen as able to serve non artistic disciplines also, should the budget necessitate the closing of art programs, as in the familiar lamented music program being dropped.
    I also think, as the photographic world in general, moves to digital processes, knowledge and awareness of the analog ones diminishes. Note Brooks Jensen's editorial in the current issue of Lenswork.
    And I notice, in observing work submitted for gallery competitions, a lot of the winning (or accepted) images are, in my opinion (whether I entered / was accepted or not) not what I would consider well "seen" and many are more interesting for their manipulated qualities. And some are outright derivative. Digital application is "in", whether we like it or not.

  5. #5
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    It's the same al over, no maintaince budget

    The same situation occurred in my kid's school district.

    The school budget is under pressure, so maintenance is not performed. The voters feel good because the school budget is minimized.

    The school has no playground equipment, so the parents complain. The issue is there is no money. So the parents organize fund raising events, and gather enough money to buy a first-rate high-class swing set. The parents feel good, since they have made a positive contribution to the children. School management feels good because they received equipment they could not afford to purchase.

    Time goes on, and a piece of equipment fails on the playground equipment. Since there is no money in the maintenance budget, the piece is removed.

    After enough time, the playground equipment has no functioning pieces. The whole process is repeated, like an infinite loop.

    In any case, everyone feels good about the situation.

    Regards,

    Kris

  6. #6
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Our oldest granddaughter signed up for photography at her HS, and started in digital. She then asked to try film. They gave her a camera, a very nice Vivitar, but it broke. The film transport was stuck. So, they gave her a second camera that seems OK. We gave her a camera as well.

    Anyhow, as it turns out, there is no budget to repair the broken camera and no money to replace it (them). So, as they break down, they are just taken out of service it seems and analog photography will thus begin a slow decline.

    I'm not sure of the details as this comes in abbreviated form from a teen over dinner, but it seems a shame to see analog die this way, when there are those willing to learn.

    PE
    I'm not sure if your saying Ron that the school has no budget to repair film cameras, or none to fix any cameras film or digital.
    Ben

  7. #7
    Nelson's Avatar
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    The school I graduated from, and where I now work full-time, recently cut their analog photography class. It was a tough choice, but with declining funding and declining enrollment, we had to make staff reductions. We couldn't cut core classes, so we had to cut some electives. Our photo teacher is still employed by the district, but now has other duties, so he no longer is able to teach photography.

    Still, we have great facilities, just remodeled in 2003. We also have no shortage of equipment. People keep giving us cameras, enlargers, and accessories, so even when stuff breaks, we have plenty of equipment. We literally have a pile of enlargers in the darkroom! Most of them are cheap, simple units; but for student use, they do the job. Since I work at the school and don't have a place at home to set up a darkroom, I use the school darkroom. I actually feel good about using the school darkroom, because otherwise, there wouldn't be anyone to look after it. At least if a student does want to use it and knows how, they still have access to a clean darkroom, functional equipment, and sometimes even fresh chemicals. And if a student wanted to use it that needed help, I'd be more than happy to get them started.

    If schools need equipment, they shouldn't have any trouble finding affordable equipment. I'm sure there are people in the community (or even folks here at APUG) that could help a school find equipment or cameras. If someone from the school (or even a parent or student) spent some time watching garage sales, resale shops, and the Internet, they should be able to find equipment. That's how I keep our old telephone system going! I just keep buying parts on eBay. If the school district is serious about keeping programs alive while saving money at the same time, they will find a way to make it happen. I've been buying enough on eBay for the school that the school district finally set up their own eBay account.

  8. #8
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Ben;

    There appears to be no budget to fix broken cameras and they appear to have chosen not to replace film cameras that break. As I said, I don't have personal details, just the story of a teen over dinner lamenting.

    PE

  9. #9

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    Good for you, Nelson, maybe you can even get an informal class, or after school group going. Often evangelism starts at the fringes of an organization, then moves inward. If you can hook the parents, you might get some funding (note Kris' swing set story)

  10. #10
    dehk's Avatar
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    Very sad either way, except or Derek Lofgreen case, which is great.
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

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