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JohnRice

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Fond memories? Have you visited in receiving years?

I visited a couple times and imagine not quite that much changed (on macro/general level anyway) since you were there -- well, I suppose the photography school/dept has undergone a good deal of change along w/ all the tech-and-business-related sea change. Still pretty spartan, sprawling campus overall... though they added this strip mall type area in the northeast corner w/ a big Barnes & Noble.

We know a few other kids also going there now, including my relative's kid and couple others from our church. Pretty solid, if a bit underrated, school for engineering and other STEM-related disciplines, not to mention your own field, especially considering the costs relative to other schools -- probably not fancy enough (and spending like that) in general to compete in typical college rankings game.

My son will probably miss the wrestling most, but probably time to give that up anyway... Maybe he'll finally get back around to picking up the violin again now that he's home and not wrestling, haha... Thought he might take up photography a little partly because of... ahem, this girl, a photog major, he befriended, but that didn't last long at all, haha...

Think my sister originally wanted to go to RIT too, if not NYU, for photography back in the mid-90's. But ended up at Syracuse instead...

_Man_
It's a mixed bag. People have absolutely NO IDEA what a program like that is like to endure. We tend to understand academic demands, but very few have a concept of creative ones. Everything you do for four years, you have to stand up in front of everyone and defend it in what was really just a blood sport of critiques. The egos tend to be enormous. Students have come from all over the world to be there, and they are like a pack of wolves toward each other.

The technical stuff I excelled at. There was a massive course on "Materials and Processes of Photography" which was our science course. It was a hodgepodge of various sciences and math, from chemistry to optics, which most people just prayed they would be able to pass. Meanwhile, I was setting the curve without breaking a sweat. It was a situation you get at RIT with photography where the head professor (Dr. Leslie Stroebel in this case) literally "wrote the book" on the topic. I also loved some of the professional electives like process photography with Andrew Davidhazy (who is also kind of legendary in the field) which involved moving film photography. That means photography where the film is moving during the exposure. Not motion picture photography, where the film is not actually moving during the exposure.

At the end of senior year for a group project, I developed a way to replicate daguerreotypes using modern film. You can't understand what a daguerreotype is unless you see one in person. They're very cool. We replicated an 19th century portrait, which was a real hit.

I have to say, I was somewhat scarred by the creative side. That part left me a bit of a mess by the end. I can be extremely hard on myself and the egos I mentioned can really eat away at you.

Ultimately it served its purpose because I got a good paying job the day before graduation, at a time when jobs weren't that easy to find.

I've been back twice. Once for work a couple years later when I spent a week speaking and training on equipment loaned to the school, then a few years later with my future ex wife just to see the place.
 
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