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Photography Students Given Valuable Advice

Posted January 31, 2012 in Events

Interesting. The advice of two successful photographers to a room full of students at Kendall College of Art and Design Photography Career Day was very much the same even though one is a commercial photographer and the other does fine art. One is just “getting started” and the other has a more mature career. 

They both said, “Use this time in school to learn as much as you can, promote yourself as much as possible and gain skills to take you forward.”

Jason Barnes, a recent Kendall alum, added, “If I knew then what I know now, I might have saved myself a lot of time, money and hardship.” He specifically told students, “Don’t use your student loan money for partying. Get good equipment while you can.”

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He described his career since graduating from Kendall with an emphasis on learning as much as he could as an assistant to accomplished photographers.

He also finds time to do his own “shooting” so he can keep up his skills. “I shoot music because I like doing it. It makes me happy even though it is hard to make any money.”

But he needs to earn a living and unfortunately shooting bands couldn’t cut it so he moved to Chicago and got work shooting architectural interiors. He networked, worked hard and took advantage of every opportunity.  The photo above is one he took of the Federal Building, soon to be opened on the Kendall campus.  Below is another example of his work.

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In his talk, Jason said several times, “I got lucky and got a call just when I needed it.” Hmmm. I think it all had to do with his being prepared for  the opportunities.

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The other speaker during the Photo Career Day gave a rapid fire over view of his extensive career. The credentials on his web site are incredibly impressive. Frederik Marsh commented, “Photographers are a dime a dozen out there so you have to be really, really good.”

He proved that. His resume includes several prestigious grants including the Guggenheim.

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His working life combines teaching, grants and plenty of time out shooting. He likes landscapes and spent a lot of time trying to emulate famous historical photographers but incorporating his own point of view making his work fresh and original. “I like photo history and can spend hours looking at books about photographers.”

“I love form. I love architecture. And I love seeing man’s impact on the land,” he said, only coming to taking photos of people on a recent trip in China.

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What excites him? Well, recently several art museums bought his work. “It took me 22 years but they finally are buying,” he grinned. If you look at the list of his clients on the web site, there are more than a few.

I was glad that the students in the audience were paying close attention, soaking it all in. Lots of wisdom put forth.

-Susan J. Smith

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