About This Blog
My name is Juan Verduzco. I live in Visalia, CA and I’m a self-described pixel pusher. I also work for the █████ ████ ██████ ███████ at Mt. Whitney High School. When we first started here 3 years ago, we were sort of just dumped on this campus and told “make an █████ ██████ ███████ work”. So, with “experimental mode” engaged and with proper initial guidance, we did just that. Our ███████ is modest but the school culture fosters it lovingly and I am thankful to have the opportunity to do what I do here. In the time I’ve been here, I helped to build and maintain a student lounge, but that is now pretty much a student-run democracy. Thus, I felt the need to move on to do something else on this campus. My first thought was to start a Photoshop & Graphic Design class since it’s one thing I really do well. However, student response to having a paltry Photoshop class on campus was less than stellar since we already have a couple of great teachers who do an exceptional job during the regular school day; we don’t need another class supplanting the regular day’s activities.
One thing we don’t have anymore, is a black & white film photography class. Because of the demand in digital photography and the current advancements in technology, film photography was declared obsolete and the class was shut down. The computer lab and dark room, however, remained in place with no one to use them. So I wrote up a few lesson plans, designed and printed a few hundred flyers, and pounded the pavement during lunch time on campus to spread the word: Black & white photography is back!
Even though I wrote my lesson handouts, I soon became very aware that, when it comes to teaching photography, I am very green. I’ve been an avid photography enthusiast for over 10 years but I am, by no means, an expert or a professional. I never had any formal training in dark room aside from the occasional reading up on it and the photography classes I took at College of the Sequoias were very heavily focused on learning camera equipment procedures, dark room paper development and fostering creativity; we never had our chemistry lesson. I ruined the first couple of film rolls I shot just learning how to mix the chemicals. The important thing is that I learned how to do it. With the help and encouragement few colleagues (former and current), close friends, family, and local resources, I was able to get this project off the ground; for that, they have my eternal gratitude.
And so it is… I am now learning how to teach a subject that has been passion of mine for quite some time but I am not — in any formal way — qualified to teach. I started this blog to record what I am processing and discovering about how my students learn what I am trying to teach them and learning from them how to teach as I go along.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying teaching photography.