What is your primary artistic medium?
Digital and 35mm film photography. I received my first camera, a Kodak 126 Instamatic, from my mother when I was only five years old. Since that day, the camera rarely leaves my fingertips. I enjoy learning and exploring new ways to create art through this medium.
I live in the Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The lofts are live/work units created by Artspace, a national non-profit dedicated to creating affordable living spaces for working artists. The modern lofts include a three story art gallery in the middle to display our work and host monthly art events open to the public.
My main focus is education, commercial work, and fine art photography. National collectors of my fine art photography include: the Holiday Inn Corporation, Starbucks, PBS, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
How did you get started as a teaching artist?
Creating images comes naturally since my mentors, (David Bazinet, Isaac Allen Sandy, Robert McKeown and Jody Leshinsky) are great photographers and artists that inspire me to new heights.
Years of crafting my style and technique paid off when I was offered a position to teach photography classes at Broward County Community Schools in 2009. The School Board of Broward County granted me full instructor certification in 2010.
What led you to creative aging?
I started out teaching at the Art Center/ South Florida in 2005. And they referred me to Miami Dade County Public Libraries about teaching one of the Lifetime Arts Creative Aging photography programs in 2014.
The first workshop was a success, and lead to another one in 2015 with even more students!
What has been the biggest surprise in working with older adult learners?
Their enthusiasm for photography and passion to learn new ideas. They have a lot of creativity in them that has been hidden for years. Some of them are picking up a camera for the first time in their lives, and finding a new way to express their newly found artistic side.
What are the differences and similarities in working with the K-12 and older adult populations?
I’ve found that children and adults both enjoy creating from the heart. The students are fearless when they decide on the shot they want to take and have a strong sense of self-reliance in the classes.
What have been your biggest challenges? How do you respond?
Sometimes the students are unsure of how to work the camera at first. I patiently go over the aspects step by step of how to turn it on, insert the memory card, focus the image and find the perspective that they are looking for.
We then learn how to view the image, download the files and print them out so that their friends and family can share the student’s joy and excitement of photography.
What is the most satisfying aspect of this work?
We work as a team during the eight week course to build their artistic and technical skills as a photographer. I enjoy when they share their weekly homework prints with me and the fellow classmates. It’s a lively discussion of what inspired them to capture the image.
The culminating event is an exhibition of their photographic images in the community room of the library where we had the class. The surprised look of happiness and joy is priceless when they and their family walk into the reception and see their works in a professional art exhibit.
What have been your most memorable moments?
When I was presented a signed camera plaque from my students to show their appreciation of my efforts for the workshop. It was quite an inspiring and humble moment that reminded me of why I became an educator.
The workshop has also inspired several students to start their own successful photography business as a second start in life where they can freely embrace the joy and creativity of the art.
What skills are most important when working with older adults?
Patience, kindness and understanding are important keys to have when working with that age group. These skills are valuable in all aspects of education. It shows in the student’s smile when I take the extra time to look at their images in the camera or help them solve a camera setting.
How does this work inform your own artistic process?
It makes me more aware of my skills as an educator and photographer.
Teaching others photography also helps me learn new perspectives or new techniques from my students. I then implement those skills in my teaching style so that others may learn the new skills as well.
What are your current or upcoming teaching or artistic projects?
I was honored to have been selected a grantee for the Creative Investment Program from the Broward County Cultural Division. The grant is used to assist with the creation of small, but complete, cultural projects such as workshops, performances or exhibition.
ArtSpace Projects nominated me for the prestigious “Su Job Award for Education”
This award is presented to an individual artist who has displayed a commitment
to advancing arts education and cultural awareness in the community.
I was honored to be selected as the city leader by Kelby One Photo Workshops for the World Wide Photowalk on Saturday, October 1st. Each year, photographers around the world gather on the same day to explore, photograph, share photos with one another and make new friends. They will enjoy a sun filled morning capturing the scenic vistas of Riverwalk and the majestic skyline of Fort Lauderdale.
My photographs of “Frequency” and “Thrust” were juried into the “Frequency of Art” show at 1310 Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, FL. These images were shot on film and are mounted to plexiglass for a sleek, crisp, modern look. 1310 Gallery is a collective run three story 2800 square foot modern art gallery in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
My star student Susan Barbini and I will have new photography images on display at Galerie Jenner in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, October 16th for the Sailboat Bend Art Festival. Susan is one of the exceptional students that has worked hard on perfecting her craft as a professional photographer and has started her own business in the field of commercial photography.
Thank you Jeremiah for your wonderful work with Lifetime Arts.
Check back each month where we will feature a new Teaching Artist who has excelled in their work with the Creative Aging process.