Faculty Spotlight: Jeff Curto

Jeff Curto

Jeff Curto
Program: Photography

Jeff Curto's love affair with the lens began in third grade on a fishing trip with his father and his older brother.

After his brother reeled in a prize catch from Lake Superior, Curto's dad told him to "hold the fish out in front of him" to make it look even larger. Young Jeff was dumbfounded, until the photo was developed and the 15-pound fish looked about as tall and wide as his 17-year-old sibling.

Thus began Curto's initiation into the art of photographic perspective, a subject that has fascinated him ever since.

"After seeing this photo, I realized the camera completely discredits how we actually view something in person," Curto said. "It still fascinates me – the whole notion of the camera seeing and interpreting things, not just recording them."

Curto, a photography professor, said there is nothing he enjoys more than sharing his love of photography with others. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1981 and a Masters of Fine Arts from Bennington College in Vermont, Curto journeyed to Carmel, Calif., to attend an Ansel Adams workshop, which was the last course taught by the great master before his death. Throughout his artistic training, however, Curto knew he wanted to teach others "the difference between taking a photograph and making a photograph."

"Throughout the years, I've taught my students that the purpose of photography is not to show what they (the students) see, but rather to show an interpretation of the world that might otherwise have been missed," he said. "When they leave this program they understand very well that a camera has the ability to see in a way that people don't...the lens picks up depth, presence and the whole concept of space."

One of the best parts of teaching at a community college like College of DuPage is being able to work closely with students from the beginning, the middle and all the way to the end of the program, Curto said.

"I'm able to watch the progression of my students as they move from simply taking a photograph to internalizing their art," Curto said. "I love this medium and love being able to share my enthusiasm with others. Though I've had some opportunities over the years to get out of the classroom, I know it's where I need to be. Without teaching, I feel like I'd wither on the vine."

More about the Photography program