Student Union - Tamara Graff

© Liz Richards

Tamara Graff
Brooks Institute Of Photography
Santa Barbara, California

Tamara is in the third year of Brooks's three-year program, concentrating on advertising photography. She's also an on-call assistant for three professional photographers.

Photos © Tamara Graff, 2000

The Education
"Brooks offers programs in advertising, portrait, industrial/scientific, digital media, digital imaging, and motion pictures. The first year is heavy tech, then there's a business block--basics, marketing, promotion, communication. A lot of assignments are treated as if the teachers are clients and you have to be creative within the requirements of the job.

"Everybody gets a bit of everything here, which is great for me. I want to be able to do just about everything. If someone says, 'I'm trying to do a web page, do you know how to do that?' I want to be able to say, 'Yes, and do you need a brochure, too?'"

"My father was doing photography when I was a child and he let me play with his camera and basically he never got it back. He influenced how I use lighting--I liked the soft-touch lighting he used. And Ansel Adams, Gertrude Kasebier, Joyce Tenneson, and Walker Evans."

"A photo teacher once said to me,'Walk around like you've just been born.' "

"To have my own studio and do top-of-the-line advertising and editorial work. I see a progression of working with really good photographers and honing my style and maybe one day saying, 'Hey, I got the cover of Vogue.' "

"I'll print a black and white negative on black and white paper but use different chemicals, like one normally used to develop Kodalith, to produce a warm-toned image. I've also done a series using the Sabbatier effect. An upcoming assignment is to take styles you like to do and apply them to a commercial job--I'm going to like that."

"The idea was to do aportrait of a loved one withoutusing that person in it--to represent them, so someonecould get the age, the gender and who they were without you actually showing them. I snuck a human in there, butit's not an identifiable person."

Tamara Graff was recommended to us by Paul Meyer, a member of the faculty of Brooks Institute.

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