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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Old 08-22-2016   #41
Roger Hicks
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Next in line is journalism schools. Anyowe can nowdays open a blog while in high school and become a journalist. Sad, the world is moving to fast toward a world of nothing, no wonder we have D.J.T.
Eh? What the hell does a "journalism school" teach? I've been a journalist for well over 30 years and I have yet to meet anyone, except slavish yes-men, who ever learned anything at "journalism school". In fact, I've met very few successful journalists who ever went to "journalism school".

Journalism means writing for journals. Pretending it's a learned profession, or that it requires any kind of qualification, is beneath pity.

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R.
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Old 08-22-2016   #42
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Correct. But what did the ancient Roman jurists say? «Qui vult decipi, decipiatur»
For the benefit of the non-Latinists amomg us I translate Petronius's version (mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur): the world wishes to be deceived, and is therefore deceived.

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R.
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Old 08-22-2016   #43
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Eh? What the hell does a "journalism school" teach? I've been a journalist for well over 30 years and I have yet to meet anyone, except slavish yes-men, who ever learned anything at "journalism school". In fact, I've met very few successful journalists who ever went to "journalism school".

Journalism means writing for journals. Pretending it's a learned profession, or that it requires any kind of qualification, is beneath pity.

Cheers,

R.

The qualifications for being a journalist would be the ability to write articles that clearly explain the story to the readers; the ability to do research; and honesty.

You can't teach the last of those qualifications, and the first two can be learned with a degree in a liberal arts subject, such as history, or literature. Those are the people who were hired as journalists before some idiot came up with the idea of 'journalism school.'
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Going to school to learn, not to get a job!
Old 08-22-2016   #44
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Going to school to learn, not to get a job!

My daughter went to school and majored in Art History and Visual Culture. When I asked her what job can she do. Her answer was: I did not go to school to learn to do a job, I went to school to learn.

Maybe this is in line with what Roger said. I went to school to learn a trade and get a job, instead of following my original instincts of being an artist.
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Old 08-22-2016   #45
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....You can't "consume" knowledge: it's a meaningless misappropriation of a neo-liberal buzz-word.
R.
But I'm an ardent capitalist? Actually I'm a Rockefeller Republican if you need to put a label on me.

I always thought that "the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught." (Thank you google) was pretty accurate. Knowledge and or skills are things you keep in your brain. So if not consume, what would you call it?

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.....The US educational system is better than some, and worse than others; possibly, quite a lot of others.
No question there are some better, but having lived in three very different states for a reasonable period of time I have to say each system has advantages and disadvantages. Again, I draw you back to individuals excelling in different approaches. From the number of students who come over to the US from around the world for all four years of their undergraduate degree, I have to think we are doing more than a few things right.


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.....Few others, though, make the egregious mistake of conflating "student" and "consumer". England is one of those few.
We could be in a lot worse company.....Cambridge, Oxford, and the list goes on.....

B2 (;->
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Old 08-22-2016   #46
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In the U.S. the tertiary education system is less about knowledge acquisition and more about personal brand association. It's not what the students learn, it's the exclusive vetting process and prestige that comes with graduating from a given institution. Proof is with universities like Harvard where only a small fraction of the school's resources are used towards teaching or research while post docs work on barely more than subsistence wages. While many of these elite schools do provide very good education, you can't assume that they are elite because they provide good education.

IMO there are plenty of far more education oriented universities, most universities in continental Europe have an extremely high standard, but nobody is going to make a popular teen comedy set in ETH Zurich.
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Old 08-22-2016   #47
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If one only consumes knowledge, it passes through the system, and is ejected as waste. One must absorb knowledge for it to do any good.

PF

ps:How did this thread go so off kilter so quickly?
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Old 08-22-2016   #48
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To conflate study and consumption is about as awful a mistake as one can make.
Unfortunately from what I've seen, in the US at least, the way that schools are marketed, students are consumers of slickly branded schools. They buy into the artificial just as much as the actual benefits that they are sold. Faculty and alumni are not immune to the hype and aura either.
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Old 08-22-2016   #49
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The qualifications for being a journalist would be the ability to write articles that clearly explain the story to the readers; the ability to do research; and honesty.

You can't teach the last of those qualifications, and the first two can be learned with a degree in a liberal arts subject, such as history, or literature. Those are the people who were hired as journalists before some idiot came up with the idea of 'journalism school.'
Dear Chris,

First para: alas, no. The qualifications for being a journalist are (a) being able to write articles that people want to read and (b) getting them in front of people.

If clarity, research and honesty were required, whole sections of the media would close down: think of the National Enquirer or Fox News.

Second para: you don't really need a degree in ANYTHING to become a journalist, and more than you do to become a writer. The old route of joining a local newspaper as a cub reporter (or even as a messenger boy), and working your way up, produced many of the best reporters of all time.

A great deal of tertiary "education" is a means of disguising youth unemployment. Another large part is a means of infantilization, of protecting children from the harsh realities and hard work of earning a living. To be sure, there are plenty of trade schools, including art schools and law schools, but the proper function of a university is to explore and extend human knowledge.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-22-2016   #50
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If one only consumes knowledge, it passes through the system, and is ejected as waste. One must absorb knowledge for it to do any good.

PF

ps:How did this thread go so off kilter so quickly?
It's not "off kilter". It's about what you can and can't learn at school; about the quality of schools (and how it can go up and down); about the difference between education and training; and about the value or otherwise of "qualifications".

All of this is extremely applicable to Brooks.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-22-2016   #51
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.. . So if not consume, what would you call it? . . .
Dear Bill,

One can absorb knowledge; or study a subject; or seek an education. None of these has anything whatsoever to do with "consuming" education.

To call a student a "consumer" is to set them on a par with someone who buys the latest fashionable clothes or iPhones, and to set education on a par with anything than can be bought and sold.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-23-2016   #52
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To call a student a "consumer" is to set them on a par with someone who buys the latest fashionable clothes or iPhones, and to set education on a par with anything than can be bought and sold.
I don't think some universities and schools are that far off from those items. It might be sad, but it isn't too far off. Some people just buy a degree as a means to obtain something else.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/01/...llege.degrees/
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Old 08-23-2016   #53
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I have a BA in photography from Southern Illinois University. I have some mixed feelings about it. No specific regrets, I followed my passion and my and I work in photography today. I have a full time job that is photo-related and I shoot weddings for a high end studio here in NYC. But there are times when I think I could have been doing something else that actually offered security, and still go on practicing photography all I want. Then again, my work wouldn't be as good. I roughly live the lifestyle I imagined for myself, though unsurprisingly on a far less grand scale than I would have hoped. Turns out, I'm not Garry Winogrand reborn. *shrug* [Actually was he alive in '84 when I was born?] If someone asked me if they should go to Brooks I'd probably say a resounding no. They'd learn more assisting in a year then in 3 at Brooks. If they asked me if they should get a liberal arts degree in Photo, well, I don't know. It's not an easy way to make a living, but it can be rewarding. Of course, I don't know how the average corporate worker bee feels day in-day out).
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Old 08-23-2016   #54
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A degree in marketing, business, sociology or psychology might be a better route for future photographers. As mentioned, photo skills can be picked up without a degree. But knowing how to market yourself or know your subjects might be best learned in the classroom.

Back to the topic, Brooks turned into a diploma mill with more emphasis on their profits than students.
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Old 08-23-2016   #55
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But there are times when I think I could have been doing something else that actually offered security, and still go on practicing photography all I want.
Had you gone that route you may well not be doing any photography at all. I think often the best bet to getting really good at something is to make it your only option (an observation rather than advice). In my downtime I often have the same thought, to get a sensible career, but then an opportunity or cash gets thrown at me and I'm too busy to think about it.

At least within design/art/photography fields, about 7 years out and nobody really cares where you graduated from, only what your portfolio and CV looks like. Same can't be said for many other disciplines.
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Old 08-23-2016   #56
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Higher education with the seeming "need" of a degree,
is a wild card.
A huge investment, as schools are business orientated, not arts.
It holds the lucky few in bondage as they repay their loans.
Few really great photographers had any degree.
My late Mom steered me to a hands on craft.
I was able to change not just jobs, but nations and continents.
Photography fitted in as needed.
I practiced whichever made the most at the time!
My photography was all self taught.
I gave photo workshops, cost underwritten by South Africa's "apartheid" govt. n a preparedness for democratic change.

My advice get a trade, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and re-modelling.
It will be a better investment, than any arts or business degree .
You earn while you learn.
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Old 08-23-2016   #57
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My advice get a trade, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and re-modelling.
It will be a better investment, than any arts or business degree .
You earn while you learn.
I'm not so sure. I went to art school and make more money and seemingly have an easier life than many friends in the manual labor fields. I would imagine a business degree opens up more doors than any other degree... what's behind those doors might be boring, but...

And, I would imagine you have to take into account where you live too.
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Old 08-23-2016   #58
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Why College is so Expensive
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"How did this thread go so off kilter?"
Old 08-23-2016   #59
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"How did this thread go so off kilter?"

Good question, Farly.

Ostensibly, it is about the unfortunate, decades long decline and death of one of the USA's premier photography schools:

Did any of the previous 62 posts, other than mine, come from someone who actually attended Brooks?
SaveKodak had first hand experience at SIU (excellent program I have often heard)

I started at Brooks in its zenith, the 1970s, not as a recent high school graduate but rather after an A.B. in English lit, a tour as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and ten years as an avid amateur photographer. I had read all the books available at local libraries. I had gone through six years of subscriptions to Popular, Modern and Camera 35. I had annoyed local professionals with questions, some of which were not inane .

Upon arrival at Brooks I felt confident that I knew a good deal about photography and was just there to "polish the edges."

Turns out, I was Self-Taught but , as such I had a "teacher" who didn't know any more than I did.

Looking back after the first semester I realized I hadn't known squat and much of what I did know was wrong.

Assignments, critiques and interaction with like minded colleagues were integral and vital parts of the learning experience.

Photography school, like most professional education, provides a quick way to become competent and, where desired or required, provides a punched ticket that can open that first door.
I have done nothing but photography in one capacity or another since 1974.

Is it best for everyone? No.
Are some institutions better than others? Yes.
I can only say Brooks was life changing for me.
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Old 08-23-2016   #60
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My advice get a trade, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and re-modelling.
It will be a better investment, than any arts or business degree .
You earn while you learn.
Maybe 40 years ago, definitely not today. With few exceptions labour jobs pay poorly and country specific regulations virtually ensure you'll only ever be able to work in your home country unless you get re-licensed, not to mention if your profession becomes threatened by technology or increasingly competitive labour markets you'll be completely screwed.

Everyone I know that went for the apprenticeship route is now either unemployed or has gone on to university. Today getting a bachelors is the modern equivalent of going to high school.

It's true that few really great photographers went to photography school, but photography schools didn't exist in the old days. Every notable contemporary photog I can think of and know the history of has at least a degree, though not always in photography.
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Old 08-23-2016   #61
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^ Mike Rowe leads up a foundation that helps place tradesmen in positions. There are a lot of positions available in the USA that are unfilled, mostly because people are unwilling to do this kind of work.
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Old 08-25-2016   #62
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I graduated from Brooks in the late 70's, without the skills that I learned and earning a BFA in Professional Photography, I never would have found employment in the photo graphic departments of Lockheed and a little later at Sandia National Labs. Sad to hear they are closing, photography has changed quite a lot. The days of the large corporate photo departments are pretty much gone.
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Old 08-25-2016   #63
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I graduated from Brooks in the late 70's, without the skills that I learned and earning a BFA in Professional Photography, I never would have found employment in the photo graphic departments of Lockheed and a little later at Sandia National Labs. Sad to hear they are closing, photography has changed quite a lot. The days of the large corporate photo departments are pretty much gone.
As are most kinds of long-term employment. But did Lockheed and Sandia require much in the way of fine art?

Many employers use "qualifications" as a substitute for what they should be doing, which is offering apprenticeships. But apprenticeships cost money: photographic schools throw all the expense on the applicant.

An important point is that few things are static. Photography schools may have been irrelevant once; then become relevant; and now be on their way to irrelevance again. The quality of individual schools also goes up and down. Overpriced and incompetent schools will inevitably lead the way in fading into irrelevance.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2016   #64
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Same as the "jazz" music schools...ie...Berklee in Boston...churns out hundreds of competent jazz players every year..and guess what..no work for all the promises...and to boot...most "graduates" are just repeating the same old school crap they teach...and they for the most part as players.... all sound the exactly the same...
OK..
Here's your business degree..
Make money...that's all you really need to know...play music..do photo...write a book...sell stuff...streetwalk on Broadway...the rent needs to be paid..do what pays the bills...
But schools don't teach you how to do that..make money that is..as they don't know how to do it themselves..just being teachers..and gleaning the students ..of their parents hard earned money...
Of course there are some that actually find work and make it a career..but what % is that I wonder...
These days..you need to do 4 or 5 things...and be adaptable...
When your studio or music aint makin money..something else is..
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Old 08-25-2016   #65
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If I were young, just getting started in life, this would pique my interest:

https://www.appacademy.io/?gclid=CIy...FQKRaQodqn4P-A

Look at the investment, time it takes, those that complete, look at the job opportunities and starting salary.

If you really are interested in photography why not the military? See the world!

Look here:

https://www.navy.com/careers/arts-me...sponsibilities
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Old 08-25-2016   #66
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Every year I meet many, many photography students at Arles. A small percentage are brilliant, but many more are rich kids killing time, or poor kids who have been sold a lie about "qualifications". The brilliant ones are the ones who have good ideas and can realize them: the school merely gives them help in getting exhibitions together. Most of the rest are on autopilot, and often (as Emile de Leon points out) merely regurgitate/ recycle/ re-photograph the same old stuff. Then there are those who are very good at realizing bad ideas, which is probably what you need to be hired as a professional hack.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2016   #67
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Roger,

Sorry to say but I've found that is true of many students. It's unfortunate. Some wander aimlessly, spending mommys and daddys money.

You hit the nail on the head sir!
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Old 08-25-2016   #68
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Ko,

Winogrand taught photography at the University of Texas Austin.

Avedon studied photography at the New School for Social Research in New York under Alexey Brodovitch

Leibowitz studied art at the San Francisco Art Institute

Uelsmann has a BA from Rochester Institute of Technology an MS and MFA from Indiana University and taught for decades at University of Florida.

Gibson learned photography in the Navy and then studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Wynn Bullock studied photography at the Art Center School.

John Paul Caponigro (son of Paul Caponigro) attended Yale and later studied art and photography at the University of California, Santa Cruz

His father Paul Caponigro studied photography at California School of Fine Art

Bruce Davidson studied at Yale and he studied art and photography at Rochester Institute of Technology

This could go on and on.

Many were educated in the arts and photography some not. When Bresson was studying there were no photography programs. Bresson did study art. And many that weren't formally educated had a circle of friends that were some of the finest artists of their times like Adams, Stieglitz and Weston to mention just a few. One thing they all have in common is a real love for art and burning desire to create and most all of the photographers that I mentioned taught, did work workshops and were mentors and inspiration to hundreds of others.
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Old 08-25-2016   #69
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airfrogusmc,

What you wrote in your post is true but please consider another view, at least the view I have towards professional photography.

The folks I know who have been or still are professional photographers didn't always receive a formal education from an institution that has classes on photography, leading to a degree.

I can drop a few names for you.

Monte Zucker worked with Joe Zeltsman.

Clay Blackmore actually worked for Monte.

Clay's website:

http://www.clayblackmore.com

Monte was a coach, teacher and mentor to quite a few people including me.

Greg Rademacher had a gent named Phillip Charis.

Gregs website:

http://www.rademacherportraits.com/index2.php#!/HOME

Please read how long it took for Greg to first meet face to face with Charis.

Ken Sklute, some info below
http://www.ppa.com/ppa-today-blog/ke...e-on-yeste.php

I attended classes taught by Ken.

At any rate, there are quite a few photographers who are professional without fancy degrees and are quite successful.

Thought I would present a counterpoint.

And it gives credence as to why a person doesn't need to spend big bucks from an institution like Brooks. Or at least when Brooks was open for business. To be successful you gotta have the fire in your belly.
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Old 08-25-2016   #70
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Bill,

An education isn't a guarantee of anything. My answer was in response to the non educated photographhers which there are many but there are also many that are. I would argue that all of those that were successful were educated though many may have been self educated. But still had knowledge. How many have the self motivation to force themselves to learn things that they don't want to learn. Some of those things have been some of my most valuable lessons and I probably wouldn't have learned them outside a formal setting.

I do know personally I wouldn't be working in the field I now work in if it weren't for the knowledge I gained because of my education. And I don't usually hire assistants unless they are to educated and have the right knowledge. Especially a strong background in lighting. I don't have time on the job to be teaching them. If I need to show assistants how to set up then I might as well just do it myself.

There are plenty of ways to learn. The knowledge is whats important and I know that I learned more about technique and just as important who I am as a photographer in the 4 years I was in school than I had before or since though the education is still ongoing.

I always considered my formal education as the starting point. I had a full time job upon graduation and for the 5 years I worked for 2 different photographers full time that was my graduate degree. I learned so much about the business of photography by living in it, watching it and asking a lot questions.
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Old 08-25-2016   #71
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Meh, I keep pretty close track of about 50 friends and acquaintances, I either went to school with, or knew when they were students, when I was a student.

About a half dozen are multi-millionaire artists. A few major hollywood directors. A few dozen are professors, a couple of deans. Some work in other creative commercial fields. A few are artist social outsiders who defy categorization, and seem to live on air. Some were rich kids, some had famous artist parents, some came from poor families.

That is how life works. Everyone who has a creative degree does not show at the Whitney or make blockbuster movies.

EDIT: they went to all sorts of schools, traditional universities, museum schools, non degree institutions like the Art Students League or the Whitney Program, and yes for-profit schools like SVA and Brooks. I had professors who were educated inside and outside of university, even one who attended the Bauhaus.
But this is a very highly selected group of people: those who were not only students when you were, but also those you chose to follow. It is extreme selection bias. I could equally carefully select a list of my friends and acquaintances who didn't attend art school (or indeed a university).

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2016   #72
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For every Mark Zuckerberg there are the rest of us.

Art schools can open up a new world of experiences. Speaking for myself, it exposed me to a life I did not know existed. One night 50 years ago, while having coffee with Alan Ginsberg, at a White Castle, I totally understood my good fortune, and never took it for granted again.
I couldn't agree more. My education exposed me to things that are still with me today in ways I can't even begin to explain. All the art classes I was required to take have only had a positive influence on me and my work.

One of my best friends is one of my retired professors. Great photographer and mentor. He received his MFA from RISD when Callahan and Sisikind were teaching there. He also was accepted to University of Florida to study under Uehlsmann but wanted to learn from Siskind and Callahan. I actually got to meet Harry Callahan in 1984 because of my professors relationship with him.
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Old 08-25-2016   #73
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University is a total waste of time and money, don't even consider blowing your money. Everything is now on the web.
Fred,

not everyone knows you well enough to spot your satire

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Old 08-25-2016   #74
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I really don't think many pursue creative graduate degrees for any real financial gain but they do it for personal visual gain. To have time to explore ones creativity full time and if it's in the right environment for the student it can be extremely rewarding on a personal level. And if one wants to teach full time an MFA is pretty much a requirement in most accredited schools.
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Old 08-25-2016   #75
Doug
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Originally Posted by nikonhswebmaster View Post
...Psst! Want to know a secret? Art school is fun.
I agree! When I started taking art classes at the local uni, it was for fun and personal growth. I had a modest money machine going with flexible hours, so I didn't have the need to make a new career out of it. Not just photography, but other art instruction was broadening and interesting. I had a small show at a local gallery. Somehow English Writing got included and for a while I wrote articles for computer magazines... mostly for the fun of it.

FWIW, seem to recall our former RFF member from Seattle, Shutterflower, headed off south to Brooks... Or am I not remembering correctly?
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Old 08-25-2016   #76
alan davus
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Originally Posted by nongfuspring View Post
Maybe 40 years ago, definitely not today. With few exceptions labour jobs pay poorly and country specific regulations virtually ensure you'll only ever be able to work in your home country unless you get re-licensed, not to mention if your profession becomes threatened by technology or increasingly competitive labour markets you'll be completely screwed.

Everyone I know that went for the apprenticeship route is now either unemployed or has gone on to university. Today getting a bachelors is the modern equivalent of going to high school.
This might be true in the US (I'm presuming you are Stateside) but definitely not Downunder. I was accepted to study Law coming out of Secondary School decades ago but went into plumbing instead. Have never regretted it for one minute. I've earnt a good living all these years, managed to send my 3 daughters to private schools, kept a lovely wife happy, bought myself toys like Leicas etc. Most of my work companions are in similar positions. Here in Oz if you work hard, a trade is still a very viable option. Perhaps best of all being a tradesman gives you the option of being self employed. I've gone through most of my working life without the fear of being made redundant. Not like mates who did professions and were forced to retire early.
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Old 08-25-2016   #77
Bill Clark
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My neighbor is a retired plumber. They are in demand here in the United States. Not many young people want to learn the trade. He told me how frequently he would be out with his van, it had the name of his business on both sides, he would either be walking from his van to a place like a mall or returning to it and someone would stop him and try to hire him.

He and his wife now own an ocean going catamaran. It was made in South Africa and they sail all over this earth. He sold their home for 1.1 million.

Not too bad for just a plumber.
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Old 08-25-2016   #78
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That may be tip I needed. I am going to check Mike Diamond immediately. Those guys are in real demand in the summer: HAVC and Plumbing.
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Old 08-25-2016   #79
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The truth is that those are the jobs that will be available in the USA now and in the future. Manufacturing jobs are gone for ever, and are not coming back. College grad jobs few will succeed: doctors, lawyers (always) and computer gigs. Most everyone else will have to go into service like plumbing and air conditioning repair.
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Old 08-25-2016   #80
Jake Mongey
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Im disapointed by this, despite being in the UK this is where I wanted to get a degree...
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