COD Photography Professor Named 'Honored Educator'
By Mike McKissack
College of DuPage Professor of Photography Jeff Curto has been named Honored Educator for 2013 by the Midwest Society for Photographic Education (MWSPE).
This award recognizes society members who have made a significant contribution to the field of photographic education through classroom teaching, writing, publishing, museum education or other areas of professional practice in photography. Curto will officially accept the award at the SPE's regional conference to be held from Oct. 24 to 27 in Lincoln, Neb.
Curto, who has served as a member of the National Society of Photography Educators board of directors for six years, was appointed vice chairman of the organization in 2012. He is exceptionally pleased with being recognized by the society as Honored Educator for 2013.
"My colleagues at the MWSPE are some of the best and brightest in this field," Curto said. "To be chosen by them is an honor that is both flattering and humbling."
His teaching efforts have also earned him an Honorable Mention in the Santa Fe Center for Photography's annual Teacher of the Year Patron Saint of Photography award for 2007. Looking back over nearly 30 years as an educator, Curto said there is one thing that has been a motivating force throughout his teaching career.
"It's the students," he said. "They constantly present new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. Seeing their enthusiasm and guiding them to face and overcome challenges is tremendously rewarding."
Another challenge that Curto has embraced is the dramatic changes in technology that have occurred since his start as a photographer.
"When I began in this industry, there was no digital photography, no interaction with computers," Curto said. "Now the vast majority of people carry digital cameras on their phones and it's incredibly important to keep up with emerging technologies. Though it has required a lot of work and research, we've been very successful at keeping the Photography program at College of DuPage on the leading edge of the industry."
Curto has continued to teach by example in terms of emerging technologies. He was recently named an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE), part of a global community of educators who are doing innovative work with Apple technology inside and outside of the classroom. As a part of this prestigious group, Curto joins other members every year at ADE Institutes and education events around the world as well as online in the ADE community to collaborate on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow.
More recently, Curto has been using iPads to teach students in his Photo 1100 class, enabling students to work collaboratively on projects and wirelessly share the information they have learned. Not one to rest on his laurels, Curto has also been working on a variety of projects, including photographing the architecture of Italy since 1989 in his "Evidence of Hands on Stone," a project he plans to publish in a book. He also administers two podcasts that each draw between 5,000 and 10,000 viewers weekly. The first is a series of lectures documenting his History of Photography class; the second is a podcast covering the creative and visual processes used in photography.
Before joining the faculty at College of DuPage in 1984, Curto worked extensively as a freelance photographer, specializing in event and public relations photography, architectural interiors and exteriors, and portrait and product photography. He also spent time in the photo-processing industry, working primarily as a custom photographic printer in both B&W and color.
The Society for Photographic Education is a national nonprofit membership organization that provides and fosters an understanding of photography as a means of diverse creative expression, cultural insight and experimental practice. Through its interdisciplinary programs, services and publications, the society seeks to promote a broader understanding of the medium in all its forms through teaching and learning, scholarship and criticism.
The Photography program at College of DuPage offers a variety of classes and programs designed to meet the needs of hobbyists as well as professionals. This program offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in and Photography and a certificate in Photography Technology. The Photography facilities are among the finest in the area and feature fully equipped darkrooms, electronic flash and tungsten lighting labs, photography studios and a state-of-the-art computer lab for digital processing.
Click here for more information about the Photography program at College of DuPage.
2014 College of DuPage