RANDOLPH COMMUNITY COLLEGE Summer 2018 | Magazine
PHOTOGRAPHY ISSUE randolph.edu | 1
On the Cover
Ken Toda, originally from Osaka, Japan, completed RCC’s photography program in 1974, completed his bachelor’s degree at Elon University, then came back to RCC to earn his degree in photofinishing in 1980. He owns and operates Huemaxx in High Point. Photo by Bernadine Hernandez.
Students in RCC’s photography program practicing their skills on the lawn. The College was known as Randolph Technical College during that time. Photo by Juan Villa, 1988.
C O M M U N I T Y C O L L E G E Magazine | Summer 2018
CONTENTS President’s Message.....................................................................................................2 Flashback........................................................................................................................ 4 It Takes a Village.........................................................................................................8 Collaboration Makes a Pretty Picture..............................................................10 Witness to the (R)evolution................................................................................... 14 Adapting to Fundamental Changes in the Industry.................................. 18 Ken Toda - Cover Story..........................................................................................20 A History of RCC Photographic Technology.................................................24 The Story of Oh..........................................................................................................26 Celebrating the Past But Prepared for the Future.....................................30 Here Comes the Bride..............................................................................................32 A Mascot by Any Other Name........................................................................... 38 The Who Behind the How................................................................................... 40 Not Your Grandma’s Tour Group....................................................................... 44 Capturing a Memory...............................................................................................48 RCC Foundation.........................................................................................................52 Class Notes.................................................................................................................. 54 Armadillo Archives................................................................................................... 56
RANDOLPH COMMUNITY COLLEGE Board of Trustees
F. Mac Sherrill, Chairman Fred E. Meredith, Vice Chairman John M. Freeze James G. Gouty J. Harold Holmes T. Reynolds Lisk Jr.
Curt J. Lorimer Shirley D. McAnulty Robert E. Morrison Bonnie R. Renfro Cynthia G. Schroder R. Andrews Sykes
www.randolph.edu www.facebook.com/RandolphCommunityCollege www.linkedin.com/edu/school?id=32471 @RandolphCC
Information: 336-633-0200 Alumni Relations: 336-633-1118 Public Relations: 336-633-0208
The Randolph Community College Magazine is produced twice a year by Randolph Community College and the RCC Foundation.
Felicia Barlow, Managing Editor Cathy Hefferin, Editor Shelley Greene, Vice President
Design & Production
Kris Julian, Magazine Art Director
Photography by Sydney Bartholow Cathy Hefferin Kris Julian Marisol Rodriguez
Contributing Writers Clark Adams Erin Arsenault Shane Bryson Kelly Heath Lorie McCroskey John Rash Greg Stewart G. Warlock Vance Joyce Wolford
Guest photographer credits provided in articles.
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE As I meet and talk with people in my role as president of Randolph Community College, I am often asked about my favorite part of the job. That is a hard question to answer, indeed, as there are so many things about the role that I enjoy and treasure. I have to say the one thing I do as president that always replenishes and sustains me is meeting and talking to our students or hearing from our students via letter or email. I was fortunate recently to get to interact with current and former students of our nationally recognized Photographic Technology program. With 2018 as the 50th anniversary of that program, we kicked off our year-long celebration of this major milestone with a very special ribbon cutting and open house on January 24. In addition to our current students, we were so pleased to welcome back many students who had graduated from our photography program over the years, as well as former photography department heads and instructors. During my remarks at the ribbon cutting, I asked how many alumni were in attendance and the hands that went up around the room were too many to count! It’s a testament to all the work done over the years by ALL of 2|RCC • Summer 2018
our photography instructors that so many of them came back to celebrate with their RCC family. One of the most unique interactions I have ever had with students was when I met Kathy and O’Neil Williams at the ribbon cutting, who had met in one of the photography hallways when they were photography students many years ago and have now been married for 30 years! I took their picture on that very spot and thanked them for coming to the ribbon cutting. Our current photography students were also out in force as they helped to direct people around the transformed spaces and documented the event. The word they heard most from guests during their tours was “Wow!” I outlined in my 2015-16 Presidential Initiatives a commitment to revitalize our photography program, raising the bar to better represent industry standards. The ribbon cutting was the culmination of an immense amount of work by a great team of people who made it all happen. Facilities Project Manager Perry Wallace worked closely with our general contractor, with support
January 24, 2018 - Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr. joins F. Mac Sherrill, RCC chairman of the Board of Trustees, at the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the revitalized Photographic Technology facility. RCC photography graduates Kathy and O’Neil Williams married after meeting at RCC more than 30 years ago.
from Vice President for Administrative Services Daffie Garris, Director of Facilities Operations Cindi Goodwin, and the entire facilities team. Network Specialist Mikey Dunn spent countless hours working on technology needs, installation and troubleshooting, with support from the Information Systems team under the direction of Director of Information Technology Services Tara Williams and Vice President Daffie Garris. And finally, Department Head for Photography Programs Kevin Eames, Photographic Technology Instructors Erin Arsenault, Jay Capers, and Dhanraj Emanuel, and Photographic Technology Lab Manager Amanda WattsBartels gracefully and seamlessly served students throughout the renovation and construction process, with support from Vice President for Instructional Services Suzanne Rohrbaugh and Division Chair for Business and Applied Technologies Amanda Byrd. They also completely revamped the photography curriculum, installed muchneeded new equipment, and continued to conduct classes while the renovation and construction work were under way all around them!
We have a lot to tell you about our photography students and the work of the photography department in this issue, and, if you want to get to know us better, we’d love to show you our campus and tell you about this and all of our other programs. Perhaps we could even create opportunities and change a life for you, someone you know, a friend, or a family member! Just get in touch… we are YOUR college!!
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Flashback A History of Photography at Randolph By Clark Adams In 1968, Randolph Technical Institute embarked on a journey to offer a two-year degree program in Photography, the only one of its kind in North Carolina. On March 7 of the same year, the Department of Community Colleges approved the application for the program. The Photography Advisory Committee, led by Dwight Holland, began to make plans for the program by examining the curricula at North Georgia Technical and Vocational School, as well as Peralta Junior College. The curriculum was influenced by both of these models. The group also used the North Carolina State Board of Education Curriculum Guide Outline to develop the curriculum. The group discussed the direction of the program for first and second year, individual courses and
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when they should be taught, co-op work experience, space, equipment and supplies, and teacher qualifications. The program was set up for six quarters, and the Art and Design Advisory Committee recommended work experience as part of the curriculum. The committee also determined that approximately $25,000 would be needed to equip the photography lab for quality instruction. In terms of the curriculum, the committee decided that the first year of the program should be primarily devoted to black and white photography with an introduction to color processing and theory at the end of the year. The second year, the student would have the opportunity to develop in independent study his or her major area of interest. The student would have the opportunity to develop either as a photographer or photofinisher. The committee felt that the curriculum should include a practical approach to color theory, high production methods, electronics, general management, some business administration, and color control. Work experience, as a co-op program, was also proposed.
On August 1, 1968, Stan Buchholz (a graduate from North Georgia Technical and Vocational School) was hired to teach the first-year class, and the first classes began with the start of the fall quarter on September 9, 1968. Henry Harsch was also hired on August 1, 1968, and taught photography classes the first year until he was given the responsibility of starting the Commercial Graphics program in 1969. (continued on next page)
Art and Design Advisory Committee 1967: Clockwise-Larry Linker, director, VocationalTechnical Education, Randolph Technical Institute (RTI); Roger Worthington, curriculum specialist, Vocational-Technical Division, Department of Community Colleges; John L. Roberson, director, Student Personnel, RTI; Dwight Holland, instructor, Interior Design, RTI; Dr. Willington Gray, head, Art Department, East Carolina College; Edward M. Brown, interior designer, Wade Manufacturing Company, Charlotte; R. C. Deale Jr., executive vice president, Southern Retail Furniture Association, High Point; and M. H. Branson, president, RTI.
The public views the first photo classroom/ lab in the Administration/Education Center, room 106, during an open house in 1968. Stan Buchholz, the first photography instructor, is center with tie, looking into the camera.
First Photo Trip-October 1968: The first students in the photography program on their first field trip on October 10, 1968, to Colortronics Inc. and Charles E. Taltonâ€™s Color Labs in WinstonSalem. Stan Buchholz, the first photography instructor, is on far left on back row with tie. Longtime Asheboro photographer Clyde Foust was a student in the first class and is on back row, third from right.
Henry Harsch, Commercial Graphics instructor and department head, is seen working with photography students during the 1970s.
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Robert Heist, former instructor and department head, teaching in the late 1970s.
Robert Heistâ€™s office.
During the first six months while the photography lab was being constructed, Buckhholz and Harsch had to lecture only in the classroom with no photographic assignments given. The 1969-1970 Randolph Technical Institute catalog is the first one to include the photography program. Employment opportunities listed for graduates were Laboratory Technician, Commercial Photographer, Portrait Photographer, Photojournalist, Illustration Photographer, Photofinisher, Photography Production and Sales, and Public Relations Photographer. Class of 1975 (with Robert Heist).
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In this early description of the program, one can see where the concentrations were later developed. Initially, the program consisted of six quarters (fall, winter, spring), and two summer quarters for a total of 124 quarter hours.
Did you know? •
In 1966, RTI offered primarily trade programs like welding, machinist, practical nursing, agriculture, electronics, drafting, electricity, and automotive repair. In an attempt to diversify the student population, information was gathered on programs in commercial graphics and interior design, which led to the conception of the photography program.
The photography program was considered as one additional area of study primarily due to the close proximity of the furniture market in High Point.
• The dean of students at Randolph Technical Institute traveled the state selling the program. Photofinishing instructor Cecil Allen works with students, 1975-76. Calumet camera used in the early days of the photography program.
The curriculum consisted of photography courses, English Grammar, Composition, Report Writing, Oral Communication, History of Art, Design, Business Math, and Social Science electives. The specific photography courses in the first curriculum were Fundamentals of Photography, Intermediate Photography, Applied Principles of Photography, and three courses in Professional Fields of Photography. The first summer quarter and the final spring quarter consisted of a Controlled Work Experience in Photography and also a Seminar class. This is how the photography program began; and 50 years later, Randolph Community College is still known for its world-class photography program. randolph.edu | 7
It Takes a Village By Felicia Barlow To be successful, you need support. In that respect, RCC’s Photographic Technology program has been extremely lucky over the years. Two longtime former faculty, who each worked in the photography department for 30 years, reminisced with me about their time at RCC. Bob Heist was hired in 1969, not long after the department’s inception. Greg Stewart worked for the department full time from 1981 to 2011. He is still actively involved today as he works part time helping market and recruit for RCC’s photography department. The Eastman Kodak Company was a powerhouse in the field of photography and for years it offered a great deal of assistance to RCC’s program. In fact, Heist says Kodak provided “photofinishing equipment such as roll printers and processing equipment, and yearly student kits which included items like paper, film, chemicals and technical information.” He adds that Kodak also provided scholarships and eventually made it one that is endowed, or permanent. Two Triad studios also played integral support roles. Heist and Stewart fondly remember Alderman and Norling Studios, both of which are based in High Point. The studios would give equipment and would often hire RCC’s photography students for paid jobs, especially during the biannual furniture market.
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Students using donated equipment, 1986.
Other companies such as Konica Minolta and Fujifilm made generous donations over the years as well. Heist and Stewart remember utilizing a miniature photography lab from Konica and a great deal of high-quality photo paper from Fuji.
Cecil Allen and Jerry Howell of Randolph Technical College; Ken Lassiter, director of photographic trade relations for Eastman Kodak; and Community College System President Bob Scott pose before a luncheon honoring Eastman Kodak for contributions made to the photography and photofinishing programs at RTC.
Photofinishing equipment in a mini lab, late 1980s. Photography instructors in the early 1990s: Standing (left to right) Sam Bogosian, Chuck Egerton, Cecil Allen, Glenda Martin, and Terry Oliver; Kneeling (left to right) Robert Heist and Greg Stewart. RCC students receive photo supplies from Kodak in 1988.
Both Heist and Stewart agree the level of support from the local community and beyond was incredible. Heist adds that â€œcontinued support from local mom and pop organizations made a big difference in the success of the program.â€? He said donations such as chemicals and photographic materials (including out-of-date film) were priceless teaching tools. randolph.edu | 9
Student retouching negatives in the late 1970s.
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Collaboration Makes a
By Cathy Hefferin
Randolph Community College’s Photographic Technology program has a long history of collaboration with other programs within the College and with the community. For over 20 years, when RCC’s Interior Design program worked on an annual Design House project, RCC’s photography students provided photography for instructional use and for marketing purposes. The 1938 Winningham House (2000), The Davidson House (1999), The Robbins House (1998) were just a few of the names of the houses transformed by the Interior Design students and documented by the student photographers. The photos of the various design houses were used for many years for a feature in a national furniture magazine called “Furniture Today.” This provided both the Interior Design program and the Photographic Technology program with national exposure. (continued on page 13)
Photographing the #50 Chevrolet Monte Carlo sponsored by Dr. Pepper and owned by Washington Erving Motorsports in one of RCC’s 60’ x 80’ studio bays.
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Photography students often collaborated on projects with students in another program at the College — Advertising and Graphic Design (once called Commercial Graphics). Photography students photographing one of the early Design Houses for the Interior Design program.
Photography also collaborated with the Advertising and Graphic Design program on student projects, pairing photography and graphic design students as they would actually collaborate in a real-world setting. The Photographic Technology program also occasionally opened its studios to outside entities as long as it provided learning opportunities for the students. The two 60’ x 80’ studio bays provided a unique space that local photography studios could utilize.
Thomas Built was one industry that utilized one of the large photo bays for a photo session. In November 1998, RCC’s Photography Imaging Center was the site of a commercial photo shoot of three separate Thomas Built school buses. Steve Cash Photography of Greensboro handled the job with two RCC photography students acting as photo assistants. In December 1999, Dan Routh Photography of Greensboro used the facility to make publicity photos for a
NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race car. Routh spent three days at the studio setting up and shooting stills for the #50 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, sponsored by Dr. Pepper and owned by Washington Erving Motorsports of Lexington. The photographs featured the team’s driver Tony Roper and former NFL star Joe Washington, co-owner and CEO of the team. This was the second time the Dr. Pepper car had been photographed in the facility.
Studio shoot, mid to late 1970s
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Witness to the
(R)evolution Technical Advancements Force a Refocus for Photography By Joyce Wolford The process of capturing and disseminating the perfect photograph has changed tremendously since RCCâ€™s Photographic Technology program began in 1968. The first students were fortunate to have cameras with features like through-the-lens metering, developed in 1963, and external motor drives, developed in 1955. Both were major technological advances in photography, even though the first motor drives only advanced film at two frames per second, as opposed to 20 frames per second on todayâ€™s cameras.
Tanks and reels used in the process of developing film. Photo by Dhanraj Emanuel.
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It is difficult to imagine that photographers, up until the late 1990s, had to wait until their film was developed to see and evaluate their images. With the advent of the digital camera, photographers could see their photographs instantly, allowing them to adjust to exposure, lighting, and composition as needed. Photojournalism graduates from the first 20 to 30 years of RCCâ€™s photography program may have seen more changes in their workflow than graduates from other concentrations. Newspapers had their own darkrooms, and photojournalists rolled their film, processed their negatives or slides, and printed their images.
August Meyland, 1985 Photographic Technology graduate, makes a black-and-white print in the News & Record photography department. Once the photographic paper is exposed to light passing through a negative and lens of an enlarger, it is immersed in chemical developer, stop bath, fixer, and a water rinse to set the image on the paper. Black-and-white darkrooms are equipped with special safelights that allow photographers to see without contaminating the light-sensitive photographic paper. Color printing must be done in absolute darkness. Photo by Jerry Wolford.
In the early to mid-1990s, the process for photojournalists became a little more technologically advanced with the development of high resolution scanning technology. During this time, newspapers moved to C41 processing machines for processing color negatives, while black-andwhite film was still processed by hand. Negatives were then scanned to create a digital file, and wet darkrooms for making prints became obsolete. Fast forward to the late-1990s when digital camera use became the norm for newspapers. Photojournalists (continued on page 17) randolph.edu | 15
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Mid-1990s film scanning station featuring an Apple Quadra 950 computer with a Leaf 35 film scanner. This equipment was used to digitize color negatives for publication. Photo by Jerry Wolford.
Jerry Wolford, 1986 Photographic Technology graduate, processes film in the News & Record photography department. The silver halide film is loaded onto reels in complete darkness and placed in a tank of developer chemistry. Once the film is secured in the tank, the darkroom light may be turned on. The developing step is carefully timed, and the tank agitated periodically. Remaining steps include adding stop bath to the canister, rinsing with water, and finally adding fixer and washing thoroughly. A wetting agent may be applied to prevent spotting, and the film is hung to dry. Photo by Jerry Wolford.
Allison Isley, 2014 Photographic Technology graduate, edits and tones images on her Apple laptop at the Winston-Salem Journal where she is a staff photographer. Digital cameras have eliminated the need for hand processing of film and making prints in the darkroom. It also allows photojournalists to shoot, tone and transmit photos to their newspapers from anywhere. Photo by Andrew Dye.
had to transition their processing and printing skills to a fully digital process, learning new photo editing skills on the computer. Early cameras used by photojournalists, the Nikon D1 for example, shot 2.7 megapixels and 4.5 frames per second. Today, digital cameras have advanced to resolutions of 50 megapixels, have the capability to shoot still images and video, and offer customized settings for professional photographers. Much has changed for photographers over the past fifty years. Today, RCCâ€™s photography students still learn the basics of film photography, but the majority of their training prepares them for the digital world in which they will work. randolph.edu | 17
Photofinishing students using a donated color film processor, 1982-83.
Adapting to Fundamental Changes in the Industry It has been said that the ability to adapt is one of the most important traits of the community college system. That adaptability has been essential in Randolph Community Collegeâ€™s Photographic Technology program, which has had to change many times along with the industry, in the 50 years since the program was first implemented.
Students using a donated black and white paper processor, 1975.
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Photofinishing The photofinishing industry, once a $4.5 billion retail industry, employed thousands of photofinishers in the early years. Randolph Community Collegeâ€™s Photofinishing Technology program was designed to provide that industry with personnel for the operation, maintenance, quality control, and supervision of a photofinishing plant. The curriculum gave students both a theoretical and practical knowledge in photography, photomechanisms, photoelectronics, photofinishing techniques and supporting technology. Students gained experience in custom finishing and supervision of processing. Employment opportunities existed for individuals completing the program as custom and machine printers, quality control specialists, service representatives, inspectors, and on the advanced level, in supervisory positions. The one-hour photo processing movement, born in the late 1970s, slowly took over a large percentage of the industry until digital photography became prominent.
Biomedical Photography Biomedical Photography was added to RCCâ€™s program as a second-year concentration in the late 1980s. The Biomedical Photography curriculum prepared individuals with the techniques and procedures used in biological photography both on campus and in clinical settings. Course work included all core first-year studies along with a strong foundation in basic portraiture, commercial, and photojournalism. Specialized courses included macrophotography/ photomicrography, multi-image production, and internship experiences under close supervision in a hospital setting. Students also took a biology course in basic anatomy and physiology. In another adaptation to industry changes, this concentration was later changed to Biocommunications around 2005. Students studied practical techniques used in news and public relations photography in the biocommunications industry; equipment and techniques used by biocommunications photographers in the production of magnified images; and advanced study of portrait and object lighting in the studio and on location using electronic flash and small-format cameras. Even within the three concentrations RCC still offers today (photojournalism, commercial photography and portrait photography), the faculty has remained on the cutting edge of the industry by adapting, adding digital photography and multimedia photography to produce graduates with the skills still needed in todayâ€™s modern photography industry.
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KEN TODA: A story of college, cameras & continent crossing
A Life Changing Meeting Leads to RCC More than 7,000 miles separate Osaka, Japan, and Asheboro, North Carolina, but 1974 RCC photography graduate Ken Toda believes the lifelong passion he found when he arrived has been well worth the trip. Toda was practicing his photography and English skills on U.S. soldiers who were taking in a little R&R during the 1970 World’s Fair in Japan when he met an American who would eventually change his course in life. Reginald Styers, an interior designer from the U.S., was visiting the fair when he ran into 18-year-old Toda. Styers asked if Toda would photograph him, and the two exchanged contact information. When Toda finished school later that year, he did not like the path that had been chosen for him by his Japanese teachers and decided to contact Styers for help finding a place to learn in the U.S. Soon after that, Toda came to visit his new friend in Kernersville, North Carolina. He was able to visit the relatively new photo program at RCC and Wake Forest University. “I liked Randolph,” Toda said. “It was more personal, they welcomed me, and I was able to get free English training.” (continued on next page)
By Lorie McCroskey
Ken Toda with his camera collection in his High Point, N.C., shop. Photo by Perfecta Visuals/Jerry Wolford and Scott Muthersbaugh. Ken Toda’s passport, issued in 1971.
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In the spring of 1972, Toda began his studies at RCC, not in photography but in English. “Elanore Stover was my English teacher,” Toda said. “She made me read Reader’s Digest out loud several hours a week.” After several months of perfecting his English skills by reading and re-reading many issues of Reader’s Digest, he started in the photography program in the fall of 1972, completing it in 1974. Toda decided to work toward his bachelor’s degree at Elon University while working with the University’s news bureau. After graduation, Toda married his long-time pen pal, Linda Tsuruta, a third-generation Japanese-American. The two honeymooned in Japan and stayed there for two years. But the call to RCC was too strong to ignore, and Toda made his way back to complete the Photofinishing program under Cecil Allen in 1980.
RTI Photography Class of 1974. Ken Toda is on the far right.
While Toda continued to use his photography skills, he also started his own business in photofinishing, but his true calling was realized after he spent a few minutes with a Nikon repairman at the Southern Short Course. He learned how to fix a problem with his camera in about 15 seconds – the same problem for which a local camera repair shop had taken several weeks and charged him a lot of money to fix just weeks before. He completed a correspondence course from the National Camera Correspondence School in camera repair. Over the years,
Ken Toda’s self-portrait, a first-year assignment in RCC’s photography program, fall 1972.
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he helped many RCC students and graduates who had equipment needs. He continued his photography and photofinishing businesses as well. But as the industry started the transition to an all-digital medium, he realized he just could not keep up with the constantly changing technology, so he decided to reevaluate his career. Toda decided that investing money in equipment that would be antiquated in just a year was not worth the expense and decided to stop all his photofinishing work to focus on camera repair. But Toda doesn’t work on just any cameras. “I don’t repair digital cameras, just the older film cameras,” Toda explained. “I went backwards.” Toda’s fascination with cameras does not just stop when he sends a repaired camera back to its owner; he also likes to find and repair cameras for himself. His collection
started with around 40 personal cameras that he kept in his home. After a fire destroyed many of those in his original collection, he decided to collect a few more. Today he has more than 1,100 cameras in many different styles, makes, and models. And while he still fixes the old stuff, he also makes broken equipment into new, innovative pieces for photography collectors. In Toda’s shop, you may find a camera lamp or a camera turned into a piece of art. Toda wants to make sure that the students today know and appreciate the equipment he and all the other early students in the RCC photography program learned with during the first years of the program. He has donated a wonderful collection to the RCC photography program to have on permanent display in its new gallery space on campus.
Ken Toda in his shop in High Point, where he opened his business in 1980.
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R TE AN C C D (19 OL H 79
H LP L O ICA E N G ) LE 988
RANDOLPH TEC HN (1965- ICAL I NS 1979 TIT ) UT E
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MUNITY COLLEG E H COM OLP 988-present) ND (1 RA
A History of RCC Photographic Technology
The first of the College’s specialty programs, Interior Design, was initially offered. Photography and Photofinishing, Commercial Graphics and Floral Design/Commercial Horticulture followed in the next three years.
RCC introduced the Photography Technology program.
Photofinishing Specialist was added to the photography program.
Photography Generalist and Photographic Technology (Concentrations in Commercial Photography, Photojournalism, and Portrait Studio Management) were added.
Photographic Technology (Concentration in Biomedical Photography) added.
The school opened a 15,744-squarefoot addition to the photography studio in the Administration/ Education Center on the Asheboro Campus. The state-of-the-art addition effectively doubled the space devoted to this curriculum, which draws students from all over North Carolina and beyond.
September 22, 2012
The RCC Board of Trustees presents its Distinguished Service Award to Robert A. (Bob) Heist, Jr. and posthumously to Cecil P. Allen and Jerry M. Howell. Heist, Howell, and Allen, all photography instructors, were credited for building the photography program from 1969-2000.
In honor of the College’s 50th Anniversary, RCC’s Photography Department hosts an alumni photography show at the Randolph Arts Guild.
RCC opens renovated Photographic Technology facility. The new facility includes 1,400 square feet of added space. The entire instructional space now encompasses over 37,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, offices, and student spaces. randolph.edu | 25
Oh The Story of
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By Greg Stewart
From the author: “Like many services that are available to us on the internet, Facebook is a mixed blessing. The best thing about Facebook is that it has allowed me to keep up with many graduates from the Photographic Technology program at Randolph Community College. Even those who live and work on the other side of the world. This is how I became reacquainted after many years with Sirichart Chuefak, a graduate from 1993. It’s been a pleasure to learn about his career since his days in Asheboro and see the fantastic work that he is currently doing.”
รถจริง แสงจริง สถานที่จริง ทำ�งานแข่งกับเวลา เตรียมงานก่อนพระอาทิตย์ขึ้น ที่สวยน่าชม บรรยากาศเต็มใจ เสร็จงานพร้อมความสดชื่น... I don’t know how to begin to make the sounds that these Thai words represent, and I expect that the English language was equally foreign to a young Sirichart Chuefak in his native Bangkok, Thailand. Sirichart was born in 1969, and he began to study English as a young boy for two or three hours each week while he was in primary school. So how, in 1991, did 22-year-old Sirichart Chuefak from Bangkok end up on the other side of the world in Asheboro at Randolph Community College enrolled as a student in the photography program? First, a little background. Like other colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, Randolph Community College has the mission of providing accessible educational opportunities that minimize barriers to postsecondary education, maximize student success, and develop a globally and multiculturally competent workforce. Normally after completing RCC’s photography program, our graduates apply their skills within North Carolina, or certainly within the United States. While it’s not unusual for graduates to travel outside of the U.S. to work on a specific photographic project, most make their homes in this country.
Specializing in motor vehicle photography of all types, both on location and in the studio, this photograph of a Ford Everest in the busy streets of Bangkok demonstrates the ability of Oh and his colleagues to work in a wide range of settings. Photo by J-Rio Production.
We’re very proud of our community and welcome many students from Randolph County. However, frequently students come to our campus from across the state and in fact the entire nation. We even occasionally have foreign students who come to Randolph Community College to study in our photography program. (continued on next page)
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Now back to Sirichart’s story. It’s very common for the people of Thailand to have a nickname. Sirichart’s nickname is Oh (pronounced O). As is the custom, this nickname was given to him by his parents, and each has a special meaning. Using Facebook Messenger, he explained that his nickname came from the sound of a mother humming to soothe the crying baby. While he was a photography student at RCC, he encouraged everyone to use his nickname and call him Oh. On the first day of classes, each incoming group of students is photographed, mugshot style, in order to help their instructors more quickly learn their names. This is Oh’s mugshot from the fall of 1991.
While on vacation in Japan in March of 2018, the Chuefak family pauses for a selfie group shot. (L to R) Oh’s wife, Warassamon, Oh, and their children, Arnik, and Ioun. Oh noted in a Facebook exchange that he was wearing the same coat that he had in North Carolina in 1991. Perhaps in part because the average annual temperature in Bangkok is 82ºF.
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When in junior high school, Oh began looking at fashion magazines, and he wondered how the photographers made such beautiful photographs. He searched for a college that offered a degree in photography and found that the only one in Thailand was Bangkok Technical Campus, so he studied there from 1985-1987 and earned their Certificate in Photography and Cinematography. He wanted to learn photography at a higher level but felt that he needed to improve his English skills. While he had learned to read and write English as a boy, he had not heard spoken English very much and didn’t feel comfortable with conversation. He went to Australia to better learn English but stayed only six months because he had a bad experience and felt unsafe there. On the advice of the education agency in Thailand, he came to Greensboro, North Carolina, and was accepted into an English as a Second Language class at Guilford College.
A studio photograph of a Royal Enfield Classic 500 motorcycle. Photo by J-Rio Production.
Oh took advantage of the library at Guilford College to search for photography schools in North Carolina, and it was there that he learned about the photography program at RCC. After studying English for six months at Guilford College, he applied to and was accepted at RCC. While a student at RCC, Oh lived in a rented apartment near the campus. “I had a very good time at RCC, and met many good people there.” Two in particular who he remembered were fellow photography students, Ann Kluttz and Reid Younts. “They made me feel like I had family there,” Oh recalled. He also had a Thai friend who lived nearby. Internships have long been an important part of the photography program, and, understandably, Oh returned to Thailand for his. Following graduation from RCC, Oh worked in Bangkok for Phoscine Production and TVC as a still photographer before joining Mr. Viroj Rujirojsakul to form J-RIO Production, where he currently works. They specialize in motor vehicle photography, both in the studio and on location. Oh’s expertise is solving the complex lighting challenges that can arise when photographing cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Photography students at RCC learn to deal with the sometimes complicated aspects of lighting all of the textures, surfaces, and contours of glass, metal, plastic, and other materials that are used in vehicles. One look at the work by Oh and his associates at J-RIO demonstrates that they are experts at the technical challenges of this type of photography.
Behind the scenes of the elaborate studio setup required to light and photograph a Royal Enfield Classic 500 motorcycle. Photographed in the studio at J-Rio Production in Bangkok, Thailand.
Part of the North Carolina Community College mission statement is to “ . . . develop a globally and multiculturally competent workforce.” While Oh came to RCC to study photography, he probably doesn’t realize he also helped us fulfill our mission. Just by being here, he brought a bit of the culture and history of Thailand with him and shared it with the students, faculty, and staff of RCC. For that, we are forever grateful. Oh currently lives in Bangkok with his wife, Warassamon, and their two children, Ioun and Arnik. randolph.edu | 29
Celebrating the Past... ...But Prepared for the Future By Kelly Heath Newly renovated Photographic Technology department at night, 2018.
As with any of our programs, Randolph Community College strives to provide quality educational opportunities for students from Randolph County and the region. Photographic Technology is no exception; however, with this signature program, our service area is much greater. It is, in fact, worldwide. The recently completed renovations in photography added space and completely transformed large expanses of the department to create specialized environments so that students can better explore and discover their talents. We added 1,400 square feet, bringing the total renovated space to over 13,000 square feet. We added a new gallery and front entrance, eight editing suites, and a student commons area, as well as upgrading and renovating offices, two computer labs, one lecture room, one portrait concentration room, one black and white dark room, one mat cutting room, one washer/dryer room, one digital print lab, faculty work
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Students working in the new darkroom in the newly renovated facility. Photo by Nicole Du Bois, Feb. 2018.
rooms, and restrooms. Technology upgrades were made to printers, computers, wireless access, security cameras, and digital displays for information. As part of the new student equipment check-out area, students can now use touch screen technology for student access to reserve College-owned equipment. One of the biggest changes is that student work is now prominently displayed throughout the photography department. In total, RCCâ€™s Photographic Technology Department now provides 37,300 square feet of classroom, lab and study space. One of the new multimedia editing suites, 2018.
New public entrance to the Photographic Technology department, 2018, featuring a gallery of student work.
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By Erin Arsenault
Here comes the bride (Oh...and the groom)
32|RCC â€˘ Summer 2018
2018 has been an exciting year for RCCâ€™s Department of Photographic Technology. On Jan. 24, our department officially opened an expanded and newly renovated 37,000-square-foot facility by hosting an open house and ribbon cutting. Hundreds of guests attended the celebration, which was many more than expected for an event that had to be postponed due to snow. Months before this event took place, planning started for the next celebration that will mark the 50th anniversary of the first classes offered in the Photography Department in September 1968. So yes, this is an exciting time.
Karalyn Grimes models as the bride-to-be with fellow students in attendance at the Mock Wedding in 2012. Photo by Yolanda Mills.
Mock groom Eddie O’Leary seems to ponder his life as he prepares to pretend to get married in 2013. Photo by Rebecca Holland.
Prior to becoming a photography student, I took a tour of RCC. I knew the first time I stepped on campus and into the maze of hallways of the “old” photography department with the scent of fixer heavy in the air that this is a special place. Magic happens here. Lives are enriched and changed. Students fresh out of high school (or in some cases, still in high school) and adult students who are changing careers work side by side in this amazing place. This department, while always working to stay in front of lightning fast changes in the photogra phy industry, is a place steeped in tradition. One such tradition is the annual Mock Wedding.
student. He says when he was a student, the event was organized and led by Toby Hardister, portrait instructor, and the students played a big role in pulling it all together much as they do today. Second-year portrait students not only photograph the event but are given jobs throughout the fall in preparation for the wedding. They must enlist the help of first-year photography students and others to act as the wedding party and family members. They must arrange for food, flowers, tuxedos, a getaway car, and let’s not forget the all-important cake, provided for many years by Asheboro’s Central Bakery.
While the school was still operating under the name Randolph Technical Institute, the Mock Wedding assignment was created by Portrait Studio Management Lead Instructor Sam Bogosian. He developed the assignment shortly after he was hired in 1978. For 15 years until he left RCC in 1993, Bogosian gave the Mock Wedding assignment to his portrait students. This tradition has been continued by portrait instructors ever since. Current Photography Department Head Kevin Eames, a 1996 RCC photography graduate, photographed the Mock Wedding as a second-year Portrait Studio Management
In the past, the event had a bit of a “the paparazzi is photographing the mock wedding” feeling. Students had to be aggressive to get the right angles. Today, the assignment is organized a little differently in an effort to provide students the opportunity to work independently to photograph a variety of required types of images. The students continue to photograph the ceremony and reception as a group though they are assigned specific responsibilities. They are also required to photograph their own scene setters, wedding details (shoes, rings, flowers, invitations, etc.), and guys and girls in the wedding party before the wedding. (continued on next page) randolph.edu | 33
Also, each student is given a short block of time (7-10 minutes) to photograph the wedding party. During this block of time, some students include the whole party in their images while others choose to focus solely on the bride and groom. It is amazing what the students accomplish in such a short amount of time. They must come in with a plan and vision for their images. And they do! The images are stunning!
In addition to photographing the wedding, students are required to edit their wedding day images, design and print their personal Mock Wedding album submission, prepare a slideshow of images, and submit pages for a class album that includes Mock Wedding images of each year’s Portrait Studio Management class. Students leave RCC photography with an album sample to use in their photography businesses. Eames states, “When I opened my business right after graduation, I used the Mock Wedding images in my sales book. Very valuable to have.” (continued on page 36)
This Mock Wedding party appears legit at the Church of the Good Shepherd in 2015.
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Pretend groom Eddie Oâ€™Leary jumps out the Mock Wedding jitters with his mock groomsmen in 2013. Photo by Aleece White.
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Clark Adams, RCC English/Communication instructor, and one who has become known as RCC’s historian, has done a good deal of research on the Mock Wedding. Greg Stewart worked in the Photography Department for 30 years as a photography instructor and department head. Adams spoke with Stewart in 2013 about the Mock Wedding assignment. In that interview, Stewart stated the Mock Wedding “helps to demystify wedding ceremonies for the students.” Recently, Stewart wrote, “I was very impressed with the event because it gave an opportunity for the students to photograph a potentially high-pressure occasion with the ability to press ‘pause’ so that the group could discuss what was going on and what to do about it.” Ashley Fetner was hired as lead portrait instructor in 2002. As a 1979 graduate of RTC (Randolph Technical College), Fetner took part in one of the first, if not the first, Mock Wedding. As 36|RCC • Summer 2018
a 2007 RCC photography graduate and student of Ashley Fetner’s, I too have photographed the Mock Wedding. Ashley always stressed to us, his students, that “with weddings you must get it right the first time because you can’t rephotograph a wedding. If you don’t do a good job on a portrait, you can redo it, but you cannot redo a wedding.” According to Adams, “A local Baptist church was originally used to stage the project, but within a few years, the project shifted to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Asheboro.” The Church of the Good Shepherd continues to graciously welcome our students each year. We have worked with a number of Rectors through the years including the current Rector, Father Joe Mitchell. Martha Bristow, the Parish secretary, has been wonderful to work with. Casey, Father Joe’s canine companion, has been a welcomed participant the last few years. The Rectors have
always been extremely generous with their time as they explain the wedding ceremony and how they view wedding photography as well as a photographer’s responsibilities while photographing in the church. A 2007 graduate of RCC’s Portrait Studio Management program, I was hired to replace Fetner after he retired in 2011. I intend to continue the tradition of the Mock Wedding project into the future. Even after 40 years, it still has a great deal of instructional value. Many students get that first wedding under their belt and their first taste of the pressure of a wedding day. The Mock Wedding is as close to “real-life” as you can get. As a matter of fact, in 2005, the “mock” wedding wasn’t “mock” at all. It was a real wedding. That year, second-year Commercial Photography student Jacqueline Gardiner, along with her husband to be, agreed to be the bride and groom in the “not so mock” wedding. Stewart, Photography Department head at the time, attended the wedding to observe the event and capture behindthe-scenes photographs of students working. Stewart said, “Everette Thomas was the Rector at the Church of the Good Shepherd at the time, and he did a good job of discussing what was going on from
his standpoint and what his expectations were regarding photographers.” Adams, in a 2013 article he wrote about the Mock Wedding, added, “This type of practical application is what makes the photography program so popular and is what has enabled it to be such a vital program at RCC.” Without the support of the RCC Foundation, the kindness of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Central Bakery, Asheboro Dry Cleaners, Amy Henderson, and so many other faculty, staff, RCC graduates and students that volunteer their time and efforts, this valuable learning experience would not be possible.
Portrait Studio student Gloria Spinks poses and photographs the groom and his groomsmen in this behind-the-scenes shot in 2017. Photo by Eden Holt.
Mock bride Karalyn Grimes beams for a real photo with her mock bridesmaids at the Mock Wedding in 2012. Photo by Andrea Anderson.
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A Mascot by Any Other Name…
The RCC Armadillo mascot greets the crowd during curriculum graduation in 2016 (the kids love it!).
By Shane Bryson When we think of mascots, there are some that are common amongst high schools, colleges and sports teams. According to USA Today, the most common mascots include Eagles, Bulldogs, Tigers, Knights, and Vikings, just to name a few. Yet, Randolph Community College’s mascot is anything but common. The Armadillo has not always been as synonymous with Randolph Community College as one might think. Now a beloved icon for the College, the critter did not have an easy route to becoming the representative for the institution. In fact, as The Courier-Tribune reported in an article dated October 31, 1980, Randolph Technical College’s Board of Trustees member Tyler Lisk asked, “Do we have to?” as the board members cast their votes on the mascot. According to the Randolph 38|RCC • Summer 2018
Community College website, the board’s October 30, 1980, vote came only after a weeklong session for students, both day and evening, to vote on a mascot, resulting in the recommendation of the Armadillo as the mascot as well as the adoption of Silver and Blue as the school’s official colors. Even with that board’s apprehension, students at the College were already enthralled with the little shelled creature. So, if the trustees were less than excited about the would-be mascot that ironically cannot even be found at the North Carolina Zoo, how did the proposal come before them? It seems there are more than a few stories about how the Armadillo had already become the unofficial mascot of the College and most of those stories revolve around Randolph’s flagship Photographic Technology program. Photography students are at the center of nearly
any point of origin story that can be found about the Armadillo mascot. In another The Courier-Tribune article dated from 1979, it was said that several photography students had taken up residence together in a large house. As one can imagine, a group of college students living on their own for what was probably the first time meant one thing: parties, big parties. According to this lore, an Armadillo was painted on the wall of the house during one of these gatherings. As graduates moved out and new students cycled into the house, the painting remained. Clark Adams, Randolph Community College English/Communication instructor and College historian, believes from his research that there is some correlation between the photography students’ parties, the armadillo painting, and a popular Jerry Jeff Walker song from the
The Armadillo mascot welcomes students to RCC’s first-ever summer camp in 2017.
A story about the Armadillo mascot that appeared in The Courier-Tribune in 1979.
same time period entitled “London Homesick Blues.” Jerry Jeff Walker belts in the chorus, “I want to go home with the armadillo.” From this would emerge the beginnings of that mascot we still know in 2018. In another version of the Armadillo’s backstory, retired photography instructor Robert Heist, who taught photography courses from 19692000 and served as department chair of the photography program, remembered “Armadillo Races” in Ramseur as the origin of the College’s soon-to-be calling card. In a 2012 article on the subject, written by Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, then a photography student, Heist was quoted, “Someone’s ugly hunched rat-tailed dog was fitted with a papier-mâché shell and served as the official mascot...[for the races].” Heist goes on to explain that the students unofficially adopted the faux armadillo as their mascot. The same The Courier-Tribune article corroborated Heist’s story, explaining that the photography students went on to host an end of year “Armadillo Festival” and placed a sign on the door of their house that read “Armadillo Festival. All Armadillos Welcome.” The little animal had so much support from the student body that the campus bookstore even started selling Armadillo T-shirts. The Armadillo has not always been totally supported in its tenure as the mascot. There was some support
in 2006 from the student body to change the symbol for the school. While some students supported the change, the sentiment was not shared by the College’s Board of Trustees, and the Armadillo remained the mascot. No matter how you feel about the small, armor-clad mammal, the Armadillo is here to stay. When a graduate is asked, “Where’d you go to school?” a simple reply, “I’m an Armadillo…” is sure to spark conversation about Randolph Community College and the history of its mascot.
An Armadillo patch that was sold in RCC’s Campus Store.
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40|RCC â€¢ Summer 2018
...Behind the How. By Felicia Barlow
“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.” -Ansel Adams In the last 50 years, RCC’s Photographic Technology program has had some amazing instructors, many of whom are referenced in this issue. Some stayed for a few years, others stayed for decades; but all contributed to the program’s history. Today, four full-time instructors teach their creative art to RCC’s photography students. (continued on next page) randolph.edu | 41
Instructor, Photographic Technology: Portrait Photography
Instructor, Photographic Technology: Photojournalism
Erin is a teacher at heart. She graduated from Jacksonville State University in Alabama with a degree in education. At that time, however, she says there weren’t a lot of teaching jobs available. After college, Erin moved to North Carolina and worked as a program director for a YMCA for about five years. For the next nearly two decades, Erin worked in the airline industry, which she says taught her a lot about working with people! Then, Erin says, it was time for a change. She enrolled in RCC’s photography program, graduated, and then started her own business. Erin says she considers that decision one of the best in her life. She says, “Running a business and teaching [are] both hard work but fun.” Erin says she feels teaching is her calling and she “believes in this [photography] program and what we do here.” Her favorite part of photography is portrait. One reason, she says, is because she loves helping people feel a little better about themselves. As a teacher, Erin gets to do that every day, right here at Randolph Community College.
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Jay grew up in Texas and says he knew he wanted to be a photographer in middle school! Jay says he’s not really sure why he was drawn to the field. There are no other photographers in his family. As a teenager, Jay decided to move away from Texas and go to college in Massachusetts. While there, he worked for a chain of small newspapers covering local events, sports and the New England Patriots. He says the team was bad then and no one really wanted to cover the games! His next job moves took him to Florence, South Carolina, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he worked for the Morning News and the Fayetteville Observer. Jay spent a lot of time covering the military and was even embedded with troops in places like Haiti, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Jay says the change to digital was beginning around that same time, and he wanted to stay ahead of the curve by learning the technology early. Those skills took him to Rochester, New York, where he worked for the first U.S. newspaper to go all digital. In his tenure there, he covered the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in NYC and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jay also started teaching photography part time at Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2010, Jay got a call from a Randolph Community College photography recruiter about a full-time instructor job. Jay says he wasn’t sure about moving, but his students encouraged him to go for it! He has worked at RCC since 2011 and says he pushes students to do their best, and it is extremely rewarding “when you see a student go out, take a chance, have it all ‘click’ and they succeed.”
Department Head, Photography Programs
Instructor, Photographic Technology: Commercial Photography
Kevin is a product of Randolph Community College’s photography program. He’s also a great example of how persistence pays off. Kevin’s photography journey didn’t start behind the camera; it started behind a bass guitar. He was a professional musician for a number of years and even opened for some big-time acts like Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson, and Tanya Tucker. It was during this time that Kevin realized the importance of photography in publicity. As Kevin says, “The better you looked, the better you sold!” He adds that he “was fascinated by all the technical things [the photographer] knew how to do and how each change in light and posing made such a huge difference.” Kevin eventually retired from performing and worked at various jobs before even thinking about enrolling in college courses. Kevin earned his GED after dropping out of high school as a teenager in Vermont. He says when he finally got up the nerve to visit some community colleges, the staff were less than welcoming. That, he says, kept him from even trying to go back to school for several years. At the age of 37, Kevin enrolled at Randolph Community College and says his experience as a student was empowering. He graduated in 1996, opened his own photography business, and 10 years later joined RCC as a full-time photography instructor. Kevin says his educational journey wasn’t always positive. He uses those experiences to encourage and influence his students. “I love seeing students realize that no matter what anyone might have told them about a lack of ability or lack of talent, they didn’t have to carry that baggage with them, and they could accomplish more than they thought possible.”
Dhanraj grew up in India and is a fourth-generation photographer. His great-grandfather started the family’s legacy business in the late 1800s. Dhanraj earned his undergraduate degree in India and ran his own commercial business there before coming to the U.S. to pursue a master’s degree at The University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. He says he intended to go back to India after completing his degree but decided to stay in the U.S. Dhanraj lived, worked, and taught in Memphis, New York, Denver, and San Diego. It was there that he got involved in the ‘food scene’ and worked with a writer for a local newspaper doing food reviews. Life then brought him to Greensboro, North Carolina, and eventually to full-time instructing here at RCC. Dhanraj continues to grow his commercial photography business doing shoots for companies like The Fresh Market, Walmart, AAA Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Dhanraj says creation is his favorite part of photography. He adds that “arranging things, like a painter, engages all your senses and allows you to pull from various areas of life itself.” He has been teaching at RCC since 2015 and says he enjoys “discussing ideas with students and helping them find their way.” Dhanraj adds that he has always taught and can’t imagine his career without it. He says being able to bounce ideas off students helps keep him on top of his game!
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Not Your Grandma’s Tour Group:
Immersion Photography By John Rash • Photos provided by John Rash
Your first day on the streets of Beijing is sure to be quite overwhelming: the massive crowds and infinite stream of bicycles; completely different street fashion and architectural design; and the collision of traditional lifestyles with modern western influences all playing out in every corner of a city that is the capital of the world’s oldest continuous civilization. And there’s still the issue of that camera in your hand — the reason you came here in the first place. You and your fellow travelers, all foreigners with little Chinese language ability and only a surface level understanding of the culture and history, somehow presume to document the lives being lived out on these streets for the next two weeks. The photographs all taken, not made, of subjects who have little regard or awareness of your existence must honor this place as THEIR HOME and not an Adventureland constructed for your entertainment. Those discussions of ethics you had in the classroom weeks ago, might as well have been years, suddenly become critically important as you raise the camera and make eye contact with the stranger you intend to photograph. And when all is said and done, you will return to North Carolina where you plan to exhibit and add these images to your portfolio, to engage an audience eager to relive YOUR experiences through YOUR works of photography. It’s problematic to say the least, and a challenge that was never as obvious when taking photos of human subjects in your native environment. Yet, you stand here now, some 7,000 miles away from home, reacting to each new scene hoping to tell a story or to freeze a moment of beauty. How anyone could casually walk down the street ignoring all of these potentially wonderful photographs confounds you but also drives you forward evermore excited to see what could be around the next corner. (continued on page 46) 44|RCC • Summer 2018
John Rash (center back), who taught at RCC from 2004-2012, took small groups of photography students to China to experience photographing a different culture.
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You’ve never felt more alive and completely aware of your surroundings while looking at the world through the viewfinder. Each new frame brings a multitude of decisions — exposure, composition, following the action, establish a relationship of consent while yielding to the voice of your subject and removing yourself from the photograph. An amazing challenge and growing experience that reaches beyond technical craft or creative use of the tools of the trade. All made possible because you invested in yourself and your work by joining the school trip promising cultural engagement and the opportunity to be in the field photographing every day as you travel. In 2009, students from Randolph Community College’s Photographic Technology program began taking photo-exploration trips with me to China. Usually lasting 10-14 days and visiting multiple locations, we moved through the country via trains, buses, boats, and bicycles. For budgetary reasons, I avoided travel agencies and organized the trips myself acting as tour guide, photo instructor, and interpreter for groups of 10-12 students per visit. Tired and jetlagged, we slept on trains at night, and spent very active days capturing images from the earliest morning light until we collapsed on our beds in the evening. Our time was never planned around snapshots, shopping, and meals, but rather balancing moderate sightseeing with long spans of time dedicated to photographing on location. This, my friends, was not your grandma’s tour group! Being a community college, however, quite a few student travelers were indeed parents or grandparents who always returned with raving reviews and amazing portfolios. I can only thank these brave students for trusting me to lead them through a foreign land, to plan a few weeks of their lives, and to ensure their health and 46|RCC • Summer 2018
safety despite barriers of culture and language. The true story to be told is the value of educational travel and the importance for both budding and seasoned photographers to constantly push themselves to see the world with fresh eyes. Some students were instantly addicted to exploring new landscapes and new cultures and have since built careers based around travel-based photography. Daniel Moorefield (RCC ’12), now a self-proclaimed “landscape and adventure photographer,” joined the final student trip to China I planned in the winter of 2012 — a trip he credits as “starting it all for
me.” The biography page of his website (danielbenjaminphotos.com) ends with a statement encouraging others “to get in touch with their adventurous side and explore the world around them.” Amanda Clay (RCC ’09) fell in love with Chinese culture and language after joining the very first RCC student trip to China in 2009. Her passionate pursuit to learn more about China resulted in her being awarded the 2010 Confucius Institute Global Chinese Study scholarship and spending half a year at Nanjing Normal University studying Mandarin and photographing her experiences.
One group of RCC photography students in Hong Kong, China, in December 2010. Rash said some of the RCC students had never traveled outside of North Carolina before the trip.
Photo of locals captured by Daniel Benjamin Moorefield, who joined the final student trip to China in the winter of 2012.
Amanda Clay, a 2009 RCC Photographic Technology graduate, fell in love with the Chinese culture during her trip to China and later spent six months studying at the Nanjing Normal University.
These two stories bookend the trips taken by RCC students between 2009-2012 but are only two of the many examples of student photographers who say they were forever changed by participating in this experience. Some had never traveled outside of North Carolina or on a plane prior to this trip, while others had traveled extensively but never for the purpose of photography.
The students signed on with the expectation of adding unique images to their portfolios, yet they returned with a new sense of life experience and cultural understanding of the world. In this sense, I must agree with Daniel Moorefield and continue to encourage any student, any photographer, to invest in yourself and in your craft by finding your adventurous spirit and to start exploring and seeing the world.
John Rash was instructor of digital photography for RCC from 2004-2012 and is now producer / director at the Southern Documentary Project and instructor at the Center for Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. You can find him via his website at www.johnrash.com
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By G. Warlock Vance Randolph Community College’s Photographic Technology Department is often lauded as one of the premier educational experiences of its kind in the country. The photography program, as well as many of its instructors, have won prestigious awards, thus earning the respect of this specialized artistic community, and of the students who take its courses. To understand the importance of RCC’s Photographic Technology Department, and its impact on the community, one need look no further than to its students. Photography student Amanda Adams’ grandfather once explained to her that a photograph is “a memory frozen
New Photographic Technology student lounge area, 2018.
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in time.” For the students in RCC’s photography program, capturing such memories is what it’s all about, and they do so one image at a time. In a recent interview with the individuals in one of instructor Kevin Eames’ classes, the participants discussed how they first got interested in photography, how they learned about the program, their favorite experiences thus far, and the challenges they’ll face as they prepare for a career in their chosen field. A surprising number of students developed their passion for taking pictures while in high school. Several, like Samantha Mickel, found that she enjoyed using her cell phone to take photos rather than as a device for texting or calling others.
An astute instructor at her high school noted her interest and recruited Samantha for her school’s yearbook. She later read about RCC’s program in Our State Magazine and decided to hone her skills by attending classes here. Samantha’s story resembles that of so many others, such as Nathan Burbon whose high school trip to Thailand marked a turning point when he realized that the process of documenting his journey was just as important, and just as satisfying as taking the images themselves. Nathan revealed that a Google search of the best photography programs in the country turned up RCC’s courses, and it was this information that inspired him to attend, even when it meant moving here all the way from Vermont. Most of the students agree with Sarah Coldiron in describing the photography program’s instructors as being very “eager, always willing to help, and push us to be the
best we can.” Eames in particular uses class time to not only demonstrate the technical aspects of the various equipment, but to describe how one must connect with one’s subject, and to comprehend that amid the elaborate procedures for taking the best shot, there is also an artistic process at work. One takes a photo, but in so doing, one may also create a lasting impression. The vast majority of those interviewed confessed that their favorite project, thus far, was the portfolio project because it allowed them to demonstrate a broad range of what they’d learned and gave them a chance to be influenced by the great work produced by those around them. The portfolio is also an essential tool that provides (continued on page 51)
Capturing a Memory
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Instructor Dhanraj Emanuel lecturing the first-year Macintosh lab, 2018.
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them with the means to show others what they can do so they can, ultimately, find work and further their careers. Darrick West notes how he wants to make a career out of photography in order to fulfill his passion for the art form. Some, like Ashley Greene and Breanna Winze, hope to open their own photography studios, while others, such as Virginia Dees Boyd, wish to further their education through an internship. Each one described how much they genuinely enjoyed what they do. “I love to capture important moments in life,” said Darrick, mirroring the thoughts of so many of his colleagues. Jenifer Hughey confided that her experience with RCC is her “second round of college,” but how she’s “finally getting to do what I wish I could have done the first time.” The students’ positive attitudes reflect both their avidness and desire to further their education by acquiring new skills in this program. But, as with any such experience, the level of instruction and the interaction with devoted instructors is crucial to creating a dynamic learning environment. RCC’s Photographic Technology Department nurtures each student’s talent and aptitude while providing the core essentials for them to take their passion to the next level, and to succeed as trained professionals in this competitive field.
The renovated Photographic Technology facility is modern and comfortable with many amenities for the students, including a student lounge and a self-serve checkout area for photography equipment. Student work is displayed throughout the hallways for inspiration. Photo by Nicole Du Bois.
RCC’s Photographic Technology students have access to the most advanced Apple Macintosh computers and photo editing software. Photo by Megan Wright.
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Message from the RCC Development Director
Home is where your story begins Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to speak with many different people who have been a part of our amazing Photographic Technology program over the years. Each of the people who called the Photography Department here at RCC home for a brief time in their life all have wonderful stories to tell. Lorie McCroskey Director of Development
Foundation Board of Directors Elizabeth H. Aldridge Steven E. Eblin Vickie H. Gallimore Daffie H. Garris James G. Gouty Robert A. Graves Neal Griffin III Baxter Hammer Nicki Mckenzie Hill Ann M. Hoover
Jorge A. Lagueruela Justin M. Lee Curt Lorimer Waymon Martin Gail H. McDowell Dr. Cynthia G. Schroder H. Dean Sexton Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr. F. Mac Sherrill Mini Singh
Foundation Staff Shelley W. Greene Vice President for Institutional Advancement/ Executive Director, RCC Foundation 336-633-0174 email@example.com Lorie M. McCroskey Director of Development 336-633-1118 firstname.lastname@example.org Joyce B. Wolford Director of Foundation Operations 336-633-0295 email@example.com Lisa P. Wright Development Specialist 336-633-0296 firstname.lastname@example.org www.randolphccfoundation.org
We all have fond memories of the years we spent in the darkroom, studio, and mat room. Those photochemistry quizzes were a beast, but there was nothing like the first time you watched a photo appear in the developer tray and actually knew what chemical reaction was taking place to make all that magic occur. (Something about silver halides and some chemical stuff – sorry Heist, that was three degrees and nearly thirty years ago!) Those of us who made our way through the department during the years of Heist, Stewart, and Howell are forever indebted to the instructors who helped us navigate our way through the program and into careers both in and outside of the industry. We developed (no pun intended) a kinship with our fellow students and instructors, we became a family, and that department was our home away from home. I miss the familiar smell, look, and feel of the old department, but it is exciting to be here at the beginning of the new age of the RCC photography program. There is nothing left of the department that I studied in years ago. The big black and white printing area is now home to several editing suites. Cecil Allen’s photofinishing area now houses a great classroom and simulated showroom for our portrait students. The equipment and opportunities that our current students have were not even imagined when I was making my way around the darkroom at RCC. The students who are here now and those who will make their way to RCC in the future to earn their wings on all the new state-of-the-art equipment in our shining new facility are fortunate to have the same opportunity that we all had in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. I am thrilled to see what they will do with their careers. While it may look, and smell, a little different than it did
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RCC photography students set up separate photo sets situated side-by-side in the old photo studio during the 1980s. In 1995, a major addition to the facility added two 60’ x 80’ studio bays and numerous other classrooms and labs. Lorie (Mabe) McCroskey, RCC’s director of development who graduated from RCC’s Photographic Technology program, poses for a photo for a college publication in the RCC Library. The original wallet sized laminated copy of her diploma overlaps the image.
when the rest of us passed through during the last 50 years, I know our current and future students will come to love and cherish the years spent here as much as all us old-timers do today. This new RCC home is where your story will begin. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out for you.
Lorie’s identification card as a student in the Department of Photographic Technology, 1988.
Congratulations to all the students, faculty, and staff for an amazing first 50 years. I am so proud to have been a part! Sincerely,
Lorie McCroskey Director of Development
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Class Notes RANDOLPH TECHNICAL COLLEGE Charlie Partin
(Portrait and Photofinishing, 1981)
Charlie sent in this memory of a great friendship formed while he was a student. “I had a great time, had great instructors; Heist sent me birthday wishes this week. The intangible was meeting, the day after Labor Day 1979, what would become the best friend/person that anyone could have imagined — Tim Dominick, of The State Newspaper in Columbia, S.C., an extraordinary photojournalist. We have seen each other through marriages, failed marriages, babies, deaths of parents, ups and downs, and are closer now than we’ve ever been. Both married, me to my wife Donna, here in Graham, him, to his wife Carla in Lexington, S.C., make time weekly to catch up. We pick each other’s brains for ideas and we laugh. We laugh continually. We try to get together a couple of times a year for golf. I learned many good things at Randolph and met great people, but the intangible was the lasting friendships that are irreplaceable and would not have come about if we had chosen to attend schools elsewhere. Pretty corny stuff, but I’m a sentimentalist.”
(Commercial Photography, 1986)
Charles sent in a story about a photo shoot he did for the New Bern Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in August 2014. “Few photo shoots, especially these days, have unlimited budgets. As a photographer working with small town advertising dollars, I had to get creative in more ways than one. While New Bern has a pretty good travel and tourism marketing budget for a town its size, 30 some professional models for one shot were not included in it. And there were six shots total. Finding 30 people that could volunteer their time was also difficult for the staff at the New Bern CVB, aka visitnewbern.com. “The final shot for this campaign was set for Thursday evening on the deck of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant. Thursday nights included a live band along with good food and a beautiful view of the Neuse River. Tom Lewis, art director with High Tide Creative, and I went out early to establish the best view. That is where my 12 ft. ladder with a tripod ball head mounted to the top was set up and remained for the rest of the night. Once the camera was placed in the ball head, it was not removed until it was too dark to shoot anymore. This was critical because the only feasible way to have the deck full of people having fun, no empty tables and waiters in all the right places, was to take over 300 photos as people arrived, ate, moved around, finished their dinner, left and new patrons came in. I knew it was most likely going to take several different frames to get all the key elements and those elements would have to be combined in post. “Tom got a little antsy early on as the crowd was slow arriving, and the light was not what he had in mind. I assured Tom that as dusk settled in the light would be perfect. He just had to be patient. I had added a couple of 1K hot lights to add some contrast and warmth to the existing deck lights. As far as the crowd, he just
q Left to right: Tim Dominick (class of 1982), Charlie Partin (class of 1981), and Johnny Henderson (class of 1981), in a photo taken in 1981. w Left to right: Tim Dominick, photography student Cali Lowdermilk Godley, and Charlie Partin photographing a wedding in 2011.
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had to trust that it would all work out. Well it did work out as more folks showed up to hear the band and enjoy the late summer evening. And it worked by blending parts of 14 different photos to create the one final image that I have seen used more times and in more places than any other photo I ever took. Often, I never see the actual use of a photo. “The first time I saw the photo in use was on a billboard on Hwy 70 outside of Kinston. Ironically, I was on the way to New Bern. A slightly different version is on another billboard in Kinston now. I’ve seen it in Our State magazine. It has been used on the visitnc.com website. I’ve seen it in several publications displayed around New Bern while visiting there. I live in Raleigh now, but New Bern is my hometown. Of course, it is also on the visitnewbern.com website, Facebook and Instagram. “When my daughter Lily was younger, she liked to go to Barnes and Noble for the books. But we would also go to the magazine rack and see if we could find one of my photos in something. This past summer my wife, Nancy, Lily and I were on the way to Boone for Lily’s wedding. So, when we stopped at the Northwest North Carolina Visitor Center, I had to challenge Lily to see how long it would take to find one of my photos among the dozens of tourism publications on display. Sure enough, in a minute or two, I found this photo in the 2017 North Carolina Travel Guide.”
RANDOLPH COMMUNITY COLLEGE Lindsay Allen-Hinesley
(Commercial Photography, 2013)
Lindsay sent in this memory of her internship. “I moved to Birmingham, Ala., for my internship to work with photographers Jean Allsopp and Becky Stayner. Jean Allsopp is an interiors photographer for Birmingham Home & Garden, mainly, but also has worked with Garden & Gun Magazine, WSJ, Veranda Magazine, Flea Market Style, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Southern Home, Traditional Home, Cottage Style, and has been the photographer for many books including Tracery, 30A Style, and 30A living. “Jean opened my eyes to the magazine industry, I traveled with her everywhere and ended up living with her and her family for a bit. One of my most memorable trips was when we traveled down to Laurel, Miss., to photograph Ben & Erin Napier well before they were on the show “HomeTown.” We spent two days with the Napiers photographing them and their home for Flea Market Style Magazine, which ended up getting them noticed by HGTV. We traveled around Laurel with them while they explained to us that they were trying to revive the town. “Jean pushed me to be the best I could be, she gave me projects to work on and critiqued them to be ready for magazine usage. She introduced me to so many amazing people within the industry and even helped me get my first magazine article in Birmingham Home & Garden.
Samples of Charles Register’s photos for the New Bern Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
“Becky Stayner was a food photographer for Southern Living. She introduced me to Southern Progress- the magazine headquarters in Birmingham. They house Southern Living, Cooking Light, Weight Watchers, Health, Coastal Living and Sunset Magazines. I was able to work with Becky for The Southern Pie Cookbook as well as articles that were in Southern Living. We worked at Southern Progress where we were able to visit the Southern Living Test Kitchen, test out different recipes and play around in their gigantic props studio. “I currently work for Lowe’s Companies in Mooresville, N.C., as a 360 Degree photographer. I have been with Lowe’s for two years, and I photograph products for lowes.com. The field I am in is extremely technical, we use robots to help us photograph items in the center of a platform or table. The table spins every 15 degrees, and we capture 24 images around the product.”
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Armadillo Archives To the right is an Artronix - one of the very first digital imaging computers that had its roots in radiation treatment planning and other medical scanning. Artronix eventually closed its doors in 1978, but not before paving the way for incredible new technologies. Fast forward to 2018 and we are surrounded by the descendants of such technology, like the fleet of shiny iMac computers in the Photographic Technology computer lab (below). While these devices put the processing power of their ancestors to shame, they still retain the need for the human touch to work their magic. The technology may change, but our mission at RCC remains the same creating opportunities and changing lives.
Photo by Jay Capers.
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Randolph Community College & RCC Foundation
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Photographic Technology Department Head, Kevin Eames, created a comparison assemblage of images of the photography facilities. The top row is a panoramic of the current layout while the bottom row displays the same area photographed by Robert Heist Jr. circa 1974 before the darkroom sinks were installed.
Randolph Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Randolph Community College. The College is authorized by the State Board of Community Colleges to award the Associate in Applied Science degree, the Associate in Arts degree, and the Associate in Science degree. EOE.
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