See Part One Here
"I started attending The Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in January 2012. I will graduate in December 2013. When I announced to my family that I was switching from a Theatre Arts major to a Photographic Technologies major, they were not thrilled but the support seems stronger than previously. I would not change a thing. I even appreciate, and notice that it does help me out, my first year studying theater.
Having a degree is important to me. I may only walk away with an A.S, but making connections and experiencing college is important in my eyes. Plus the knowledge and experience I have gained is, indeed, helpful in the field.
I chose the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies because it is a unique program that allows the students to express themselves artistically, but mainly teaches students how to work and produce photographs for the commercial industry. I would not say that the school I attend has changed me as a photographer. I would agree that the professors have helped me mature as a photographer. Through their guidance and lessons, I have gained confidence in the work that I produce. I am involved with the Student Photography Association (SPA). I go to lectures and events at the museum, but I don't qualify for student aid so I can not work there.
I have multiple "favorite" professors. I learn something different from every leader in the program. If forced to choose, I would say my professor Charles Hodges. He is an excellent professor! I don't have a specific assignment that I deeply enjoyed. I do, however, love the opportunity to present a constructed final portfolio at the end of each semester. I would not say that I completely loved my multi-media class. Videography is something I love and love to hate at the same time.
I have only been attending the school for a year, but when I do leave I will hold onto the connections I've made at the school. I hope to stay in contact with my classmates as well as professors. "
In 2004 Jonathan Zinsli got his first Nikon camera and took his first high school photo class. During these formative years he was encouraged and mentored by his photo teacher and eventually decided that being an artist would be his life’s pursuit. After graduating high school he moved to Florida where he attended Daytona State College and studied photography. Jonathan was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way home from school on October 7th, 2009 at the age of 21.
-Philip Zinsli (Jon's brother)
-Philip Zinsli (Jon's brother)
His interview was pieced together from past artist statements he wrote through school.
"Self-portraiture is one of the strangest experiences a person can have. You have to step outside of yourself (which I believe is almost impossible) and analyze and interpret yourself for the rest of the world. This is the biggest dilemma, to be able to objectively transcribe yourself into emulsion. I find this the most difficult, because how is any human being able to know themselves completely enough to be able accurately depict oneself without bias or judgement? The only answer that I can legitimately come up with is to just ignore the whole question to begin with, because within that is the true essence of self-portraiture, to share your own vision of yourself to the rest of the world; but why share to begin with?
Art is the act of sharing our perspectives with the world, and this may be an essential part of being human, sharing our perspective with those around us. It is the act of trying to convey what individuals believe they have discovered, and the meaning they have found. This is why I take photographs, moments in time, flashes into my bio-organic matter that occupies my skull, to share myself with the world, which may also be linked to a basic human need (in my opinion at least) the need to be remembered. How else can I even attempt at going down in human history without letting all 7 billion other human occupants of this planet know what I am all about? It is an urge of mine, and quite possibly always will be, unless time and age filter it out of my being.
For fifteen years or so my life lacked something. It was something that would never have been noticed by anyone until it was remedied. My life lacked direction. It lacked a craft that I was passionate about. I was fervent with opinions, but words and ideas are different than something that comes straight from the heart; and that’s were photography steeped in. My style, to me at least, seems not to be developed all the way, or I have no style to call my own; which neither concerns me at all.
I sincerely hope that all of my viewers take the time to absorb the essence that is Jonathan Michael Robert Zinsli, and that your perspective may be altered in a new and beautiful way."
"2006-2010. I chose to attend the Southeast Center because of the teachers. As a teacher myself, I connected with each one in a different way. Each professor was willing to be of service and promoting to push our limits professionally and mentally. I related to the teachers because I saw them as human beings, which had a way of presenting information in an authentic way, thus made each teacher stand out on their own. They taught me how to see the light.
I’m a Scorpio, a water sign. I need to be contained in order to be successful. If I don’t have structure I won’t get anything done. Plus I naturally feed off other individuals, especially if they are passionate and are willing to help and be helped. I attended Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange Florida in which I spent countless hours in the school’s darkroom. Per Has Romnes was my teacher in high school, and he pushed me continuously to be a part of the photography program. No pun intended.
While still attending high school I started working on the weekends in the old photography building. This was years before I entered the program to experiment with color photography darkrooms. It was whole new world for me where I felt welcomed and where digital was still in the distant future.
Patrick VanDusan is the most influential teacher in my entire life. I connected with Patrick because he taught me that it’s “not just f-stops and shutter speeds” but about influencing and changing people’s lives. He was always patient, sensitive, and empathetic about his students, including myself during and after Jon Zinsli’s* death. I could write for hours about how Patrick has had an impact on my life. I even keep a post-it on my bathroom mirror that says, “Patrick VanDusan says, ‘Write’” I take everything Patrick says for exactly what it is, lessons in life.
I loved every assignment given by Dan Biferie. We had complete control of each project where our creativity was encouraged. He gave simple guidelines but let us choose how we wanted to creatively customize each assignment. Overall, the Joyce Tenneson emulation was my favorite because it’s one of the most half-assed beautiful images I ever created of Jon Zinsli. I hated the process of physically shooting large format but adored the results. It taught me patience and preparation.
I worked as a museum assistant at the SMP. The friendships I made with the Southeast Museum of Photography staff were my favorite takeaway."
My parents always expected me to go to college. It wasn't a question. I was not interested in UF's photojournalism major, even though it is highly recognized as well. I wanted to get as far away from the panhandle as possible, so FSU was out for me, too. I chose the Southeast Center on a whim, but it's exactly where I was supposed to be. My parents have always been supportive of my passion in photography. My mother is an artist as well, and my father an entrepreneur- so they have never doubted the possibility of achieving financial stability and happiness with my career choice.
Being in school for art and photography changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I thought more deeply, more openly, and about a larger variety of opinions. Though I've thrown away everything I learned about composition in school, I hear the voices of my professors in my head when editing or searching for a subject. Ultimately, the school made me a better person- which made me a better photographer.
I caught Dave and Joe [stock room staff members] comparing "Thank you" cards I had made them once, and therefore I do not feel comfortable mentioning favorite teachers, haha! I will however, repeat this (which another professor told me and I deem absolutely true): I will always have a little Laine Wyatt in my head, and that is f-king phenomenal. I would suggest new students try to take every professor at least once- which can also be achieved with participating in Independent Study classes. They are all phenomenal. Also, I learned more during my internship with Orlando Magazine about working in the field than I could have ever learned from an individual class.
I always liked when we had the freedom to build our own portfolios, such as in Gary Monroe's Advanced Editorial classes and at the end of both Steven Benson's Advanced Lighting and 4x5 courses. I never hated any of the assignments. Even if I was stressed during, in retrospect everything was absolutely worth it.
I was the photo editor of Daytona State College's newspaper for three years, and a photographer for the publication before then. I attended every SPA meeting that I could, as well as attended some of their offered workshops and the museum's artists talks. I attended the SPE conference in Fall 2012 and made important contacts. I also have a picture with Jerry Uelsmann signing his book for me.
I would have been able to concentrate on my first few years more easily if I wasn't in a tumultuous, abusive, unhealthy relationship. I think this is worth mentioning. When you come to school, be ready to put everything into it. Everything.
I am a teaching assistant at the school once or twice a week. I help tutor individual students. I make myself completely known as a resource to most students in the program. I have undergraduate students messaging me often for photoshop, 4x5, or multimedia assistance- as well as simply just for advice. I keep in constant contact with my professors, and intend to meet with them about my career in the near future.
It was ultimately the camaraderie of the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies that I fell in love with. The students and faculty are family. The artists we bring in to talk and discuss their work become a part of that family. It is exactly where I was supposed to be."
"I think I started in 2009. The school is close to my house and had a great reputation when I was in High School. My favorite class was Steve Benson's Large Format. I really liked most of the Large Format assignments. I hated math. if I could do anything differently I would have figured out a way not to have to take Algebra.
My thought was that I would like to get back into teaching so a MFA would make life easier. I actually had a very strong foundation in photography before I started classes here. I still work in the school stock room part time."
"In the summer of 2005 I took a course with Gary Monroe, and I started the program that fall. I really finished most of my courses in 2007. I actually scheduled to be induced later that night. Jack was born the following day. I came back to finish a couple of classes, but I hadn't done the paperwork for graduation until 2010. I was very involved. I was the President of the Photo Club. I was student of the year in 2007 and also nominated as Who's Who of Daytona State College. I felt very honored.
I learned about the Southeast Center through our real estate agent who was showing us our house. We got into a conversation about it and she told me that she had heard there was a really great program in Daytona. I already had a Bachelor's in Architecture, Public and Urban affairs, concentrating on Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. I never really intended on getting a degree in Photography I just wanted to grow more in the craft. I had taken a couple of classes at the community college in West Palm Beach and then we moved. I had already become obsessed and had such a desire to learn more. The first time I developed a print in the darkroom it was so magical, I felt like everything stopped at that moment. I thank my daughter Bella (my Muse) because she was my inspiration in the first place to take a photo class. I really discovered a lot about myself. When I first started photographing, I really was interested only in fashion photography, which I still love, but my work started to evolve in another direction, I didn't seem to be in control of what I was doing. My work Les Enfants grew out of this realization. I am so interested in people and learning from them. I love photographing strangers, meeting new people. I'm drawn to certain people. Everyone seems as though they are some sort of character, and life experiences are what have created them. When you take a portrait of someone it is like you are peeling away layers and reaching into their soul to discover something about them. When I'm photographing I am only really interested in capturing an emotion that re veils itself.
Like I said I wasn't really intending on getting a degree, I just wanted to learn more about the craft. Now I can say "my craft." Learning on your own you miss out on that bonding experience with your peers. I made some of the greatest friends from that experience. We learn from each other, and really no one else can relate or stand to listen about what we do except those who do it. Photographers only want to talk about photography, and we can do that for hours. Others can't hang. I truly miss that everyday comrodery.
Also, you get the opportunity to try all different types of equipment that you may not otherwise be able to get hands on experience with.
The professors were all so wonderful and inspiring. Their words have stuck with me. My favorite assignment was my 4x5 portfolio, it took me to a different place. I was very pregnant at the time which probably lent a lot to the creativity/ the vision. The work is called "The Ties That Bind Us." I have pulled a few images and shoot a couple since to add. I hope to finish that work, I have most of it laid out in my mind. The most difficult class I had was a photoshop course, I was playing catch up. I hadn't taken the first semester prep class with everyone else and I was feeling super lost for a while. Failing was not an option in my mind, so I took that challenge and worked my hardest in that course. I was very proud of that end semester portfolio.
I am still involved. They have always been so good to me, I would be there to assist if they ever needed me. I really miss being in that environment everyday. With my project "Love for Alyssa", the school was crucial in making that exhibit happen, I will always be grateful."