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
I picked each flower to capture the instantaneous epiphanies. In seeing this short life and all its conditions, I firmly believe that I am not afraid of life or death, nor anything in between or after death.
Photography by Yuri Uemura
On display at Gallery Obscura
November 21th – December 3rd, 2016
Reception: Tuesday November 22nd, 6:30-8:00pm
It’s time to register for Fall! Save your seat now – classes start in Friday August 12, 2016.
Everyone who registers by August 9th will be entered into a raffle to win $50 in print credit at the CCSF Photography Issue Room.
CCSF is open and accredited! Your units are good for life and will always transfer. Have you registered yet for a photography class? Registration is open! . Low enrolled classes may be
cancelled as early as August 3rd – so register now.
ENROLLMENT IS AS EASY AS 1-2-3
1. Visit the the Fall 2016 schedule to choose your classes
3. Register for the class (registration is required to attend). Only $46 per unit for CA residents!
4. Don’t have the pre-requisite but feel you have adequate experience? You may challenge into any class.
Contact Erika Gentry, Department Chair to schedule a challenge test. Note that if you challenge any class – you waive your right to take it in the future. firstname.lastname@example.org
Showcases the use of negative space through black and white film. It demonstrates absence and the notion that it is not necessarily the subject that is important, but the space surrounding.
Black and White Photography by Heidi Judge
On display at Gallery Obscura
April 5 – April 30
Artist Reception: April 7th, 6-8 pm
As of this week – the following sections still have seats available for Spring. Remember that if you have questions about a class – you may email the Instructor of record. Here is a list of our faculty and staff and their contact information. Visit the full schedule of classes – which start January 14, 2013. If you do not meet the pre-requisite requirements but believe you have equivalent skills you may schedule a challenge test with the department secretary or make an appointment and bring in your equivalent college transcripts to the chair.
PHOT51: Beginning Photography with Lightroom
31891 005 L/L R 09:10-12:00PM Massalski, A R 01:10-04:00PM
Meets in Conlan Hall E-101
30847 591 Lec M 06:40-09:30PM 01/14-01/14 Berman, M M 06:60-09:30PM 01/28-01/28 M 06:40-09:30PM 02/11-02/11 M 06:40-09:30PM 02/25-02/25 M 06:40-09:30PM 03/11-03/11 M 06:40-09:30PM 03/18-03/18
PHOT 60A Beginning Photoshop (2)
32320 001 L/L R 02:10-05:00PM Raskin, S 31392 501 L/L W 06:10-09:00PM
PHOT 60B Intermediate Photoshop (3)
30852 001 L/L M 03:10-06:00PM Gentry, E W 03:10-05:00PM
PHOT 67 Digital Negatives for Darkroom Printing (3)
32691 001 Lec W 09:10-01:00PM Gentry, E
PHOT 85A Beginning Lighting Techniques (4)
30861 001 L/L M 09:10-12:00PM Berman, M W 09:10-12:00PM 30862 501 L/L M 06:10-09:00PM McAteer, R W 06:10-09:00PM
PHOT 86 Mixed Media and the Photographic Image (3)
30867 001 L/L W 01:10-03:00PM Spragens, G W 03:10-06:00PM
PHOT 102B Documentary/News Photography (2)
33041 501 L/L T 06:10-09:00PM Light, K
PHOT 130 Portfolio Production (3)
32321 501 L/L M 06:10-09:00PM Nishihira, R W 06:10-09:00PM
32981 006 L/L M W 09:10-12:00PM Shimm, A Yung, R 32561 553 L/L T R 06:30-09:20PM Comacchio, E McAteer, R
PLAN your schedule
Here is the Spring photography schedule. Apply and register as soon as you can to ensure your spot.
To see student work samples visit the virtual gallery.
If you have any questions about pre-requisites – please ask an Instructor. Some classes that require a beginning darkroom class (like Documentary) will allow registration with an equivalent second semester class such as Photoshop – just ask the Instructor! You may waive certain per-requisites by taking a challenge test or presenting college level course equivalence/transcripts to the Dept. Chair, Bob Nishihira.
Need a Challenge Test? – make an appointment asap:
QUESTIONS? visit our list of Faculty and Staff to schedule a one-on-one appointment or ask a question.