Jason Andrescavage is an alumni of the Photography Department at City College of San Francisco and earned a Masters Degree in Photography from Kingston University in London in 2014. He has been creating photographs for 10 years concentrating on traditional film and analog wet darkroom techniques. Jason also shares his knowledge at Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco, CA where he teaches photography and darkroom techniques. See our interview with him below:
Jason – how do you think the Photography Program at CCSF help prepare you for a masters program in photography?
I think the CCSF Program is a great first step on the road to a graduate degree because of the intensive technical courses on offer throughout the curriculum. If you are willing to put in the time as a student, there is absolutely no limit to what you can accomplish there. Between the facility and the amazing faculty I was always able to grow as an artist and a practitioner during my time there. In addition to the technical courses, the artistic development classes, business courses, and comprehensive history curriculum I always felt like I was well prepared for a graduate-level education.
Was graduate school always your goal?
No! I started at CCSF as a pure hobbyist looking to get some instruction and improve my photography. It’s hard to understate how important my time at CCSF was in changing my mind in regards to photography as a profession and academic pursuit versus a pleasant pastime. The steady pace of advancing skills and knowledge through the curriculum was addicting and led me to want to continue on to the next level.
PUT IN THE WORK! The CCSF Photo Department as a resource is second to none, and someone who is truly serious about growing as a photographer would have no excuse not to exploit it to the fullest. When I was a student at CCSF, I would frequently be at class or in the darkroom 4 nights a week, and Saturdays. If I wasn’t at work or on location shooting photos, there was a good chance I was on campus. And I was a part time student! When I got to my Masters Program, I was already used to the serious work commitment required and I was able to enjoy the experience all the more thanks to the reduction in stress that meant for me.
What made you focus on traditional film and darkroom techniques?
It wasn’t specifically a “film-vs-digital” choice to continue on with traditional film. I started photography with an inexpensive 35mm SLR I bought on Ebay. At the time, the first class in the CCSF Program was Photo51, and it was still a film-only course. As I worked up through all the classes in the Program and became more competent behind the lens and in the darkroom, my style and choices evolved around the medium. At some point, the look I got was so tied up in traditional wet photography that a digital practice just wasn’t an option for my personal work. Since then I’ve gone even farther down that rabbit hole, shooting my most recent project with an 8×10 camera and paper negatives.
Do you have a go-to camera and lens?
I shot with a 35mm Leica R4 SLR for many years with the occasional medium format roll here and there. Right before I went to grad school I bought a medium format camera for the work I would be doing there and have since then not shot any 35mm besides for backup purposes. During my grad program in in the years since I have moved up to large format 8×10 for specific projects while doing my typical work in medium format.
The two cameras in my bag are:
-Hasselblad 500C with 80mm and 150mm lenses.
-AGFA Ansco 8×10 from old timey times with a newer Schneider 300mm lens.
What is your main source of ideas or inspiration for your work?
It really depends on the project, but for the last few years inspiration for my large format project has come from early artist photographers such as Henry Peach Robinson and Julia Margaret Cameron, up through the Pictorialists- and especially California Pictorialist Anne Brigman. My inspirations for my typical work include the works of Lillian Bassman, Dan Winters, Richard Avedon, and Tim Walker.
I don’t shoot socially-themed works, mostly concentrating on portraiture and themes that excite me within the world of photography, such as the interaction of photographer and subject.
Finally – Do you have any advice for our film & darkroom students wanting to pursue fine art traditional photography?
Have a reason to use traditional wet photography and make it your own as a reflection of your artistic concepts. Have the traditional process be as much of the “why” as the subject matter itself. The fact is, the medium is a choice- make it an interesting one.
Working at a fine art practice is a difficult and your work may go unnoticed for a long time. I’ve had many works dear to my heart get no attention at all when others are unexpectedly selected for exhibitions all over the place. Work with a style and subject matter that excites you, and you will have the enthusiasm to constantly improve and evolve your work.
For more Jason Andrescavage: www.andrescavage.com
Jason’s workshops and class offerings at Harvey Milk Photo Center
What is the Barbara Stewart Scholarship?
• It is a scholarship established in memory of the late and beloved Barbara Stewart, a City College ESL instructor and photography enthusiast. Each semester a Beginning Photography student is awarded a $250 merit scholarship in her honor.
Who may enter?
• Open to all currently enrolled Photo 51 students.
Is there a theme or subject?
• Yes, the theme this semester is Light as Subject.
What may I submit?
• Students may submit one photograph in digital form only.
What are the submission requirements?
• Images should be original size – do not reduce the size. JPEG format only!
• File names must be in this format: first_lastname_ph51-<your section#>.jpg. For example: sally_student_ph51-001.jpg No spaces or punctuation other than – or _
• Student’s name must be included as Creator in the file metadata and his/her email address must also be included in the metadata. Submissions without this information will not be considered!
How do I submit?
• Files should be uploaded using this link:
• Submissions must be received no later than 9:00 pm on April 22, 2017.
Still have questions?
• Ask your Instructor or a Lab Supervisor for assistance or
• Contact Steven Raskin at email@example.com
Photography by Simone Mancini
Noir vision of the street life of Rome.
On display at Gallery Obscura
March 23 – April 22, 2017
Gallery Reception: April 6th, 6-9pm
Congratulations to CCSF Photography Students: Kylie Ball, Ivan Ly, Rafaella Pedroso and Kwok So for being Finalists and Lara Enguita Cano for making Honorable Mention in Photographers’ Forum’s 37th Annual College & High School Photography Contest!
All Winners, Honorable Mentions and Finalists of Photographer’s Forum’s 36th Annual College & High School Photography Contest are featured in the hardcover book Best of College & High School Photography 2017.
Rayko’s 10th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show
Opening Reception: March 1, 6-8PM
Exhibition on View: March 1 – April 23, 2017
RayKo’s 10th annual juried plastic camera show will include images from around the world by 89 different artists! Along with the juried show, we will also exhibit photographs by the featured artists from our past 9 years of fantastic plastic shows: Veronika Lukasova, Aline Smithson, Michael Emery, Roy Berkowitz, Michael Borek, Thomas Alleman, Robert Holmgren, Sam Grant, Michelle Bates, James Rohan, Ernie Button, Jennifer Shaw and Gordon Stettinius. It’s a landmark show, so we’re thrilled to show some history in what could be the last exhibition ever at RayKo Photo Center. Come celebrate these artists and all this film photography this spring!
RAYKO PHOTO CENTER
(415) 495-3773 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 428 Third Street, SF
Infrared Images of Yosemite
A series of infrared landscapes shot in Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley
Photography by Tom Risser
On display at Gallery Obscura
February 15, 2017 – March 18, 2017
Reception: Tuesday, February 25, 5:30-7:30pm