Sunday, December 6, 2009


The one big thing I carried away from 2 years of grad school and 4 of urban pioneering was the pure joy of being on my feet working. Whether shuffling images in the darkroom in search of the perfect collage or hanging sheetrock, invention-while-moving was the greatest of gifts.

The same, I realized, was true in the kitchen. But in order to be in the kitchen - or for that matter, the darkroom or a house under renovation - income is necessary. So with some reluctance, in the early 80's I set about "Putting to use the skills I'd learned in school," to use my father's words, and began searching for a full-time teaching position.

The search led me through an artist-in-residence at Peters Valley Center for Contemporary Crafts, where I rebuilt a moribund photography program, to professional conferences and part-time teaching gigs. Eventually I landed a full-time faculty position at County College of Morris, New Jersey.

I love sharing what I know. I suppose that's a "teaching instinct." But sharing is a lot more fun when the audience is willing, and that's the case only about half the time at a suburban C.C. Nonetheless I've been gifted with some wonderful students . And I've learned to explain things clearly. More critical to the ongoing project - food! - teaching has deepened my instinctive trust in radical solutions.

What I mean is, when the ways it's always been done stop working, it's time to try a way that's not a little different, but 180 degrees different.

(Hmmm. Maybe I will give a cellphone photo assignment next semester!)

And now we're at the cusp of marriage and celiac. Unrelated topics to be sure, but each a 180 degree change from where I was at the end of the 80's.

Leslie and I, May 2009

And both topics of the next post. ;)

Stay tuned!

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