I am a full time educator and part time professional photographer. Until three years ago, I was primarily self taught. One of my benefits as an educator in the district I work for is that I can take one college course a semester and the district will cover tuition and fees. Well, I figured I might as well get some formal training, some legitimacy, if I am eventually going to do photography full time. I looked to the local community college.

I enrolled in my first course, Photo I, taught by a wonderful lady who is an active photographer. Although very basic for me, it was a very good experience. I lived in the darkroom for four months. I then took two courses with the only full time instructor. She showed us her equipment; a Nikon F-1 and a very old Olympus digital. Both were past their prime, although I understand why a Nikon F-1 would still be a favorite. The thing was, she did not use these cameras! She was not an active photographer.

Then, last semester, I took Commercial Photography. I should have taught the course. In fact, I kinda did. I met with some students several Saturdays at my studio and went over the things that the instructor should have taught. he tried to do a lighting demonstration. He set up three lights, three reflectors, and a diffuser and told us this was the standard setup for photographing one person. What a disaster! It would never work and no one who knew lighting would ever use that setup. Then... are you ready for this?... he took out his Nikon D70 to show us how wonderful the lighting was. he was going to take a few photos to show us. He didn't know how to operate his D70. (BTW, he had a MFA from RIT). Can you believe this?

Next class he was going to do a demonstration on setting up and shooting a 4x5. I don't have to tell you what happened here...

The rest of the story is... I got an e-mail from him last week asking if I would come in and do a LF demonstration for his current class. I did that last night. No problems; just some good instruction. He admitted I was the right person for the job; better than he would have done. Unfortunately, I do not have an MFA.

Anyhow, that's a sampling from the current state of affairs on photography education.