Photography department celebrates 75th anniversary

A man views a gallery during City College’s 75th anniversary of its Photography  department showcase, Jan. 17, 2014, at SF Camerawork. Photo by Bridgid Skiba/The Guardsman
A man views a gallery during City College’s 75th anniversary of its Photography department showcase, Jan. 17, 2014, at SF Camerawork. Photo by Bridgid Skiba/The Guardsman

Samantha Dennis/The Guardsman

The photography department is celebrating 75 years of quality education this semester with various venues around the city showcasing works of current and former students, as well as works of faculty.

The kick-off party was held Jan. 17 at SF Camerawork showcasing some of the 700 photographs submitted.

Other venues around the city will also display the work of nearly 200 photographers who submitted their work.

“We have a good balance between professional photography and fine art photography and it gives a larger opportunity for employment,” Photography Department Chair Robert Nishihi said. “[The photography department] has excelled by including a gallery within our department on campus.”

Julia Sperling, a web design major, is among the students whose work is showcased at SF Camerawork.

Sperling came from Germany and began taking classes at City College to improve her English skills but has since learned so much more since enrolling in various photography classes.

Sperling said the classes the photography department offers prepare you for the job market.

“It starts with basic soft skills like being on time, working in teams, being prepared to handle critique and learning to speak up and present your work,” Sperling said. “But you also learn hard skills such as the programs and assignments which are similar to the real world jobs.”

The department is one of the largest programs in the country according to the school website and continues to provide a variety of classes from foundation courses to advance level courses.

City College instructor Erika Gentry said that they start from the bottom up which helps students gain confidence.

“A lot of students come to class with equipment that they have been given or recently bought and it can be overwhelming to them,” Gentry said.

Photography major Beatriz Escobar said City College offers programs other schools in the Bay Area do not. She said skills were acquired in a beginning photography class which allowed her to get the best out of her camera.

“When I started taking more advanced courses, I started learning the way professionals operate,” Escobar said. “Teachers here at [City College] are always committed to teaching us the professional way to do things.”

Escobar said the program is very extensive with an incredible lab and an infrastructure that is not easy not find and added that it’s also affordable.

The photography department has flourished since its start in 1939 but instructors focus on keeping the original concepts of photography in tact.

Gentry said the photography department has done its best to support analog processes but also incorporate in demand emerging technologies such as digital capture processing and output.

“The number of technical classes we offer is unique compared to other public two and four year colleges in the Bay Area,” Gentry said.

The SF Camerawork show was organized by Gentry and photographs will be on display until Feb. 2.

The 81 Bees, a collective group brought together by a mutual passion for photography, has put together a show at Rayco Photo Center that will be showcasing photographs until Feb. 23.

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