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On the Spiritual in Teaching, 1997 (a)

Toward the end of the 1980s, I found myself growing increasingly disheartened with the progressive deterioration in the quality of education offered by the university department in which I taught, and the concurrent decline in the energies and involvement of its students. […]

After Postmodernism — What?

No matter how pampered and groomed, how sleek and well-fed they appear to us superficially, can we fail to understand why, when we ask these starvelings to make art that might nourish us, they not only “prefer not to” (like Melville’s Bartleby the scrivener) but couldn’t possibly do so — even if they wanted to with all their hearts? […]

Trope: The Well-Made Photograph (5)

Through a chain of what seem to be unconnected circumstances and separate but reasonable decisions, what was once process-oriented became product-oriented, what was once relatively private or en famille became public, and what was once concentrated in the final semester of the senior year expanded in the only direction it could — backward — to infuse the entirety of the students’ experience within the program. If this could happen in a BFA photo program, at a post-secondary level wherein final thesis projects in the arts are not universally considered mandatory, it’s easy to envision the importance they acquire at the MFA level, where they are in fact generally required. […]

Trope: The Well-Made Photograph (4)

Post-secondary photo education is notoriously one big gut course, evidenced by the facts that nobody flunks photography and a GPA below A-minus has become unusual in most such programs. Social promotion, grade inflation the overall lowering of the basketball hoops, are the norm. (Like the children of Lake Wobegon, all post-secondary photo students are above average.) […]