I like how Picasso is added at the end.....
Didn't he tour with the Grateful Dead back in '76?
Official Photo.net Villain
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]
I know this thread is old, but I would like to chime in. Robert, I agree that the art education circles have become increasingly post-modern in technique and thought. This has led to a definite decrease in technical quality and aesthetic quality. As Michael Smith asked, what are we going to do about it? Like you, I went to college studying art.
I earned my BFA in photography from the University of Kentucky a year ago. The faculty there consisted of two people: Dennis "Bones" Carpenter, and Ruth Adams. While their work is more conceptual and is made through both traditional and digital means, they are well versed in traditional photography (I contact print traditional 8x10). I was taught not just about art and art history, I was taught technique. Ruth gave us an entire semester of Zone system testing and such. She earned her degree from RIT, so it was a very thorough semester. We also learned all kinds of alternative processes. I assumed this was standard in all university programs, but I was wrong.
I went last October to the SPE conference for the Southeastern region in Orlando, Fl. There were students from Florida, North Carolina, and other states (I was the only student from KY). If you've never gone to one of these conferences, I recommend it. It's a great way to meet graduate programs. Looking at other students' work, I quickly saw a severe lack of command over simple technical issues. And these students were there to get jobs and Master's degrees! Most prints were too heavily printed from underexposed negatives and poorly spotted, if they were spotted at all.
I had taken some of my polaroid transfers to show, (I should state that I am not great at these, but I had improved from my first attempts) several of the students wanted to know two things: 1) what they were! and 2) if they knew what they were, how I got them so consistent. My education from Ruth on this process was simple, use distilled water, and keep the glass warm with a heating pad. This information is available on Polaroid's website. These students had never taken the time to learn something for themselves. If they got bad results, they simply tried to justify them in an artist statement.
I, too, will be seeking an MFA. I am currently applying to SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Georgia. I know that there will be instructors who do not share my viewpoints on art and will try to push their liberal ideas on me (I am a 26 year old conservative Southern Baptist, if that tells you anything), but in the end, I will be teaching somewhere (I hope) and I can try to inspire students to make art that they like rather than what is currently popular. And I know I will definitely teach technique.
Don't despair, Robert, you're not alone.
Good luck, Greg. From what I know of SCAD, it has a better program than most. But that may be overstating it. We are friends with a former student from there--an excellent student--a young man who works with an 8x10. When he first came to show us his work, we saw that it left much to be desired. After a few years he took one of our workshops and his work immediately showed vast improvement, in his eyes as well as in ours. But at least he didn't get hammered for using an 8x10 and working in a traditional way.
Good luck to you.
I see this thread is still going. Glad to see Michael is still teaching people, and that there are people yet, interested in 8x10. Maybe I am weird. I dont give a damn about artsie fartsies, or what tools/methods are in vogue. If i satisfy ME, that's what my goal was anyway. But then, I am a nonrepentant amateur.