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KCC Faculty on Teaching

KCC Faculty on Teaching

Q&A with Tommy Mintz

How did you get into teaching?
I began teaching in high school. My photography teacher asked me to be an assistant teacher senior year. I continued my teaching practice with my second job after college as a technology instructor for a wide variety of ages at the East Side House Settlement in Mott Haven in the Bronx. I realized that I wanted to teach photography. I then went to Queens College for an MFA, intending to teach at a college. I was an adjunct lecturer at Queens College, Bergen County Community College and Kingsborough for nine years and really enjoyed the experiences on different campuses.

What career did you imagine for yourself when you were in college?
I went to a college to study with a specific photographer who taught there. I knew that I wanted to be an artist.  Knowing this, I decided to study other subjects that could provide ideas to utilize in my work — computer science, sociology, mathematics, dance, theater, marine biology, the history of science, constitutional law — all of which continue to inform to my photographic work.

What do you love about teaching?
I love sharing my practice. Digital photography is present in everyone’s lives and aiding students in raising their consciousness of their creation and consumption of photography is very gratifying. 

What’s your favorite teaching experience?
My favorite teaching experiences are when students are using their cameras to document activities at Kingsborough, especially the Theater Department’s productions and the Fashion Department’s fashion shows.

In what ways do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
I share my practice as an artist with my students. From photographing, to organizing, to sharing images, my work uses many of the same approaches and techniques that students in the photography classes learn to use. 

What advice do you have for current students?
Photography is a complex craft that is an increasingly large part of our lives. The ability to craft compelling images is empowering. It often takes many failed attempts before a compelling image is crafted. Be patient with yourself as you work on your craft.