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
A fashion shoot collaboration with Photographer Justin Schlesinger and Prof. Nathalie Smith’s class “FASH 54A” inspired by the book “Natural Fashion Tribal Decoration from Africa”.
Photography Exhibition by Professor Andrea Schwartz Massalski
Please join Andrea Schwartz Massalski for a solo exhibition of her photographic series titled LOCAL TREES. This series was done over a few years living between Capitola, CA and Berlin, Germany. The work represents a conceptual idea of place and beauty. Blaise Rosenthal wrote about these photographs, “Massalski’s impulse to isolate begets a process of composition based on editing, involving removal and emphasis, that demands that formal considerations are taken into account. But what allows these images to succeed beyond simple pleasantly or formal exercise is the unique combinations of contrasting aspects that coexist within them. The photographs express both an innocent earnestness as well as a wry and deadpan sense of humor. They seem to be the product of an intense curiosity restrained by the resolve to neglect and resist interruption into their space.”
Andrea would be happy to greet you at the show. Please contact her if you would like to join her at the gallery to view and discuss the work in person. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing Reception | October 29, 2016 | 1:00-3:00
2125 Delaware Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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. email@example.com
December 10th – January 12th, 2015
December 16th, 2015 at 6-8pm
Mullen Brothers Imaging
2040 Oakdale Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94124
From Ancient Greek ἀγαθός (agathós, “good”) and κακός (kakós, “bad”)
Adjective: Composed of both good and evil.
Beginning in 2013, I started making pictures of the awe inspiring sunsets that suddenly popped up in the latter part of that year. These were the most colourful and spectacular sunsets I had experienced in San Francisco in recent memory. Light bent in every direction to shine in every shade the human eye could see. Everything glowed. Of course, there was a dark side to the light. Almost all of the sunsets shot for this collection were the result of intense pollution caused by the Rim and Big Sur fires. Beauty and death and awe and finality. Glory and disgrace. Good and Evil. Do we revel in the beauty, or do we mourn the loss that gave it to us? Can we open ourselves to both realities and what that opening means – an agathokakological experience?
Photography by Adrienne Johnson
On display at Gallery Obscura
October 13 – November 7, 2015
Artist Reception October 22nd, 6-8pm
A collaboration has sprung between the CCSF Photo Club and the CCSF Fashion department! In the spring of 2015, the CCSF Photo Club contacted the CCSF Fashion Department to take part in their annual fashion show, a capstone production run by the students of Prof. Natalie Smith, who teaches fashion styling and modeling classes. The result ever since has been collaborative efforts with Natalie Smith’s styling class, FASH 54B and our own CCSF Photo Club. In this slideshow, the inspiration is famous artists.
– Sonny Pichay (CCSF Photo Club President)