An Important Teacher III

The summer passed by quickly and the end of August was here before I knew it.

In the fall, I re-enrolled in Photo I with Frank. This time, though, I had so much resolve. I looked into the future and pictured myself as a successful photographer. I know this inner confidence was, in large part, thanks to Frank believing in me. As a future teacher, I will try to stay mindful of how much my encouragement can give hope and confidence to a student who may not have much of ?either.

I don?t remember telling Frank my big dream of becoming a professional photographer. However, I believe he knew. He took me seriously and set very high expectations for my projects. He spent a lot of time guiding me to be meticulous about my work, as well as to stretch and explore with my creative ideas.

?Since the day I met him, nearly 24 years ago, Frank has worn a burly salt and pepper beard and gold wire rim glasses. His style hasn?t changed nor has he aged, even a day. Every day, he wears the same thing – ?khaki pants, a short-sleeve cotton dress shirt and hiking shoes. In the winter, he adds a down parka to the mix. Just like his style, Frank is steady and constant. Gentle and soft-spoken, he?s encouraging as a professor yet fully passionate as a photographer, artist and teacher. Though not a tall man, you feel him in the room. His presence is calm and peaceful. When I was in Frank?s class or in the darkroom, I had a sense that everything was going to be ok. Day by day, I relaxed and concentrated on my work, making my prints as well as my big dream come true.?

This could have been an exceptionally scary time. Panic and ?reality? could have taken center stage at any moment. By the time I?d enrolled in Frank?s class and purchased the supplies, I had $10 to my name. I was alone and had a beautiful little girl to love and care for. And though I was working at Hallmark, my status was freelance and I was hired just a week at a time. Still, I tried not to make much time for doubt. However, there were a few moments that semester when I asked myself what I was doing and wondered if my dream really had a chance of working out. I didn?t linger there too long, though, because I was having successes every day and I was having fun.?

I?d fallen in love with photography. From taking pictures to processing film and making prints, looking at images and studying the craft, while imagining and planning countless projects for the next 80 or so years, I was happy and grateful. This was a magical time in my life, made more so by my mentor, Frank.




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