Joshua Lutz – GS Faculty
Describe your teaching philosophy and your reasons for becoming a teacher.
Besides the enormous salary that provides the luxuries in life that only a few top execs in Wall Street are privy to? Well, I would have to say I became a teacher to continue a dialogue about photography that started a long time ago. The core of my teaching philosophy is creating a safe environment for failure to be embraced. Students need to know that the place between something working and not working is often so narrow that the only way to get there may be to go too far. This applies to all aspects of the teaching practice. Simply put: you don’t know something works unless you try. Whether it is taking a concept beyond its scope or printing an image too dark, students need to be inspired and encouraged to know that it is all part of the process.
What is your favorite part about teaching in the General Studies program at ICP?
I know it’s a cliché answer, make fun of it all you want: the students and faculty.
How would you characterize the students here?
It is always hard to sum up a student body to a few sentences because they all come from such a vast range of backgrounds. There is not one way of thinking that prevails throughout the institution. As a whole the vastness does set up for a culture of acceptance and appreciation for each others’ understanding.
How does the GS curriculum differ from that of other photography schools you have either taught at or attended?
In a way, the GS curriculum is a photography immersion. From the day the students get here, the curriculum is intended to build on itself to create a community of artists thinking about photography. I don’t know of any other one-year program that touches so deeply on so many different aspects of photography, from technical skills to philosophical questions about how photographs function.
Do you see a relationship between teaching and your own photographic practice?
Teaching and my own practice are so intertwined that separating the two is no longer feasible. Teaching informs and alters my work in the same way that my work informs and alters my teaching. I change my syllabus every year so that it reflects these ideas, and challenges my own way of thinking about photographs.