Last Wednesday, I went to an awards ceremony and photography exhibit put on by the Austin Community College (ACC). I went on a whim, after seeing an invite on Facebook. ACC has a well-regarded Department of Professional Photography that offers associate degrees in many photo disciplines. I was curious about the school, the programs and the works by the students.
During the exhibit, I saw universally solid photographs and many were outstanding. The teachers seemed passionate about teaching the craft and the business of photography. The students, energetic. The facilities, outstanding with multiple labs setup with Mac Pros with giant screens and Wacom tablets. In the corner, several huge Epson printers. I was pleasantly surprised.
This got me thinking. Perhaps I should take some classes. I’m not interesting in an associate degree but the course catalog boasts an impressive array of photography courses. I’m sure the dynamics of a real school differs greatly from seminars that are offered by a plethora of working pros, these days, no doubt to supplement their income in a tough market.
I have no plans of becoming a professional photographer. But formal courses will, no doubt, fill gaps in knowledge of my self-taught photography education. The only bummer, ACC no longer has any film classes, which makes sense, given the market. Their education is pragmatic, with no romantic throwbacks to an ancient imaging process. They teach Photoshop and Lightroom.
It’s been 30 years since my last class in a school. While I have no interest studying physics or calculus, photography could be different. During my undergraduate education, only a few courses really felt fun. I have to admit that, even back in the 80’s, my purpose for college was mostly pre-professional — to get a decent job so that I can start my career. I am now closer to the end of my career than the beginning. The concept of retirement doesn’t seem theoretical anymore. Maybe now I should take classes for the pure fun of learning, without any regard for career advancement.
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