Advice on Photography School

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Obelix, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Obelix

    Obelix TPF Noob!

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    Photography is a passion of mine and has been for quite some time. Im 17 and just last year I built a darkroom in my bathroom. I would love to go to photography school but I want to know if thats wise. Ive heard that when you go to schools that people flush the creativity out of you by drilling techniques in your head. I would really love to go. If anyone has gone to a photography school and has made a carreer in photography please let me know of your choices. Senior year is comming very fast and Im very stressed about what schools I want to choose. One in particular that I really would love to go to is The Sanfransisco Art Academy University or Brooks Institute. All advice would be MUCH APPRECIATED!
     
  2. ZacKrohn

    ZacKrohn TPF Noob!

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    Hey! what a coincidence I'm also 17 and also looking for photography colleges. I have talked to my college counselor at school and they gave me the following list (keep in mind I don’t know your location I would like to go to school locally so all of these are in California).
    Brooks Institute (located in Santa Barbra) http://www.brooks.edu/
    Academy of Art (located in San Francisco) http://www.academyart.edu/
    UC Santa Cruz (obvious location) http://www.ucsc.edu/public/
    Otis (located in LA one small thing I got form this school that discourages me is that they also have required drawing and other basic art classes no matter what your major is...I'm not much of a drawer but if that’s your kind of thing that’s great) http://www.otis.edu/fileadmin/homepage/index.html
    Cal Arts (located in Valencia which I believe is Southern Cal) http://www.calarts.edu/
    Cal State Hayward (located in Hayward only has a minor in photography) http://www.csuhayward.edu/
    San Jose State http://www.sjsu.edu/
    Cal College of Arts and Crafts (located in San Francisco) http://www.cca.edu/cgi-bin/dad?dbase=admissions&record=fed

    I can't give any personal recommendations or anything for these schools but that’s the list I have...if anyone else who has attended one of these schools could give some help that would be great!
    -Zac
     
  3. mattvillano

    mattvillano TPF Noob!

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    you're going to get a lot of different opinions on the good and bad of selecting art/photography schools. I was in your shoes 2 years ago and seriously considered going to an art school. Aside from the money I had other nagging points. My only advice is to look at schools that offer liberal arts educations as well as a strong photography program. The benefits of recieving a liberal arts degree can be seen in the long run. I've talked to a lot of people that graduated from art schools and photography schools and couldn't find work and the fact that they don't have wide education background limits their finding work anywhere else. Just remember to keep your options open. THat's just my two sense.
     
  4. exposure

    exposure TPF Noob!

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    skip school and become an assistant, seriously.
     
  5. StvShoop

    StvShoop TPF Noob!

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    so you're worried about picking a major

    wow man, i wish i was looking out for stuff like that earlier in my life :D
    don't forget to watch for that.

    about high school guidance counselors... i read a horror story on ebay (a guy from my school in my major was trying to sell his diploma... seriously) and one of his big points (though he was pretty off base with lots of his other points) was that guidance counselors often tend to be librarians rather than guides. They'll pull out the book-o-schools and look at what ones are "rated" the best (imo, those rating systems are garbage).
    It seems like you are pretty concerned about whether or not you even want to do photography, so I won't speak under the guise of tying to help you find "the right school" at this point (i'm an architect anyway :p ). I would say go visit a photography college, try to talk to some of the professors, and ABSOLUTELY talk to the STUDENTS (and realize they're going to have their own biases for/against photography, college is a wierd time)

    whenever you do pick a school/major, my experience at atchitecture school so far has told me #1 pick a decent school, and #2 not all of the professors are going to be great, so FIND the good ones and TALK to them every chance you get about what you're doing in your classes. this is really important and really hard to do (for me anyway). I got stuck with some really lousy teachers all throughout the past year, and I didn't learn much. I should have hung out with the good profs more, but it was hard to do that. They have their own schedules, their own groups of students to watch out for, and it's so easy to just fall in the habit of only talking to my assigned profs. That's a lousy state of affairs, the only choice is to go for the good profs.

    :shock: i wrote too much! 20 demerits!
     
  6. PSA

    PSA TPF Noob!

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    I've also heard that Minneapolis is a GREAT place to study art. Anybody have experience with this?
     
  7. ZacKrohn

    ZacKrohn TPF Noob!

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    I don’t know about anyone else, but I know my guidance counselor fairly well and he definitely knows what he’s talking about. I am thinking I will try to go for a Major in English (because I love to write and basically I could do lots of other stuff with an English major like teach or something) and Minor in photography. Then if I'm lucky I could do some sort of photo journalism type thing that really interests me.

    One problem with SF Art Academy is that all their classes are based on your major. So if for some reason you decide to change your major you get shafted. Lots of art schools do it that way so that kind makes me feel wary of trying an art school. I have also heard that Brooks has very little in the way of "art" photography...its mainly industrial

    -Zac
     
  8. lttletimmy

    lttletimmy TPF Noob!

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    Well from what I hear if you're bent on going to school, which I wholly endorse by the way, I've heard nothing but great things about brooks. My friend's dad is a member of the ASC and mentioned that a lot of other cinematographers he runs into went to brooks, so it seems like a good place to start. Just my $.02
     
  9. exposure

    exposure TPF Noob!

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    film school yes, but for photography...

    I still say assist ;)
     
  10. StvShoop

    StvShoop TPF Noob!

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    tell me some more about that, man.
    i'll be entering my 3rd year of architecture next semester (it's a 5 year program). i've really been wondering if school is the right way to go. Right now I see going to school as kind of an enforced incubation on myself, where I can learn technical skills, ways of thinking, whatever, without the urgency and danger of working in "the real world".
    I've had a lousy time in school lately :roll: and have been considering ditching it and getting a job in an architect's firm. Yeah, i know architecture doesn't = photography, but there are similarities. I need to learn physics stuff, presentation skills, etc., which is different from photography (and maybe can be more completely learned in school), but the subjective stuff is the turning point. There's a lot of creativity, talent, even skill, that i really wonder if I would have just the same whether I got it from 5 years of school or 5 years of working. And WORKING, (it seems to me at this point in my life) would be something real.

    so is that what you did? how is it turning out?
     
  11. exposure

    exposure TPF Noob!

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    Me? Yes I dropped out of school before high school. Assisted for about 18 months and then started freelancing. It has been good to me. There are many industries where a degree is important, and in most cases photography is *not* one of them. It's like going to music school to learn how to write a hit song. It just doens't work that way. In commercial photography what is important is your book, and knowing how you get/deal with clients.

    However, AFAIK architecture is one place where a degree is everything, and then on top of that you need to "assist" for another few years. It's a long road from what I've heard. Is it your passion? If you can get to where you want to go by getting a job directly, that might be worth considering. Only you can decide. Follow your passion and interest, it's the only way.

    But hey, this is about Obelix's post, and I noticed he ain't replied yet.. ;)
     
  12. StvShoop

    StvShoop TPF Noob!

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    thanks a lot man :)
    i used to think that too

    yes, this thread is for Obelix. I'll leave the rest for the photographers
     

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