As most people know, I am a high school photography teacher. It was never my intent. I enjoyed teaching after graduate school but never wanted to “deal” with teenagers and definitely did not intend ever to have a steady job. Then, there was no other way but one way to support myself and that way fell into my lap. I became a high school photography teacher and it became my day job. Now, when I think of the term day job, I think of the many manual labor, demeaning low paying jobs I have had over the years and the high school teaching job does not fit into that description. Still I go to it everyday during the school year for eleven hours each day door to door. I ride my bike there and that gives me a way to re-enter my home and studio with the day job left behind. I am able to live in two different worlds pretty successfully; in fact I enjoy both immensely. The teenagers I have taught have been rewarding, frustrating, sometimes sad, tons of fun. They keep me young in my 21st year of teaching high school. I am good at it, though my students (some of them anyway) might say different. But in the summer, as soon as school is out, I have almost ten consecutive weeks to work in my studio on anything I want. I get a rhythm and because I live and work in the same place, I get a lot done. Summer is a blissful time, I go to bed late, take a catnap in the afternoon, work in the studio or go on a road trip and take pictures. It’s a beautiful life. And then, the day job calls out from it’s slumbering heap in the corner, and I can’t believe summer is over. True, in some ways I am grateful for the discipline of the day job. It keeps me honest, in a routine that is healthy out of necessity. I become responsible, eat well, do yoga and go to bed early.
I will be the first to admit I get a thrill out of my day job. After all, teaching is fun and I really enjoy turning teenagers onto photography. They are not afraid to make mistakes and they love to express themselves, to be heard. So as I begin another year of teaching, I am looking for ways to merge both lives. I intend this year to loosen my grip on myself; enjoy every minute more and let both types of work, teaching and making photographs flow freely. I am continuing to work with color negative film in the 4 x 5 inch pinhole camera. I give you two here both made in the Catskills, New York State, this summer. More to come as I finish processing.