“All the kids want to use digital cameras right away,” explains Kinte Taylor, a photography instructor at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design. “But I make them shoot on an old-school camera with film first.”
Mr. Taylor realized this trick worked on two levels. “Shooting with film pushes them to learn depth of field, motion photography, lighting and more,” he says. “But it also teaches them how to self-edit. A digital camera can shoot thousands of photos on one memory card. Give them a 24-shot roll of film, and you see them change how they shoot. Immediately.”
The lesson in film also taught the students a respect for the materials they work with—materials that don’t come cheap. “Getting a printer and the ink from DonorsChoose.org helps alleviate some of the cost for the students and their parents,” says Mr. Taylor. “But getting a good printer for the kids was the main goal. I switched to Epson printers for my photography years ago, and I never looked back.”
With the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Large-Format Inkjet Printer and plenty of ink, students now have full creative control over the entire photography process in a true digital darkroom. “Before we received the printer and ink, the kids printed their photos at Walmart or Target,” Mr. Taylor explains. “But the colors never matched what they saw on the computer screen, and I’d have a class of frustrated photography students.”
Mr. Taylor used his students’ frustration to encourage them to manipulate their work in Photoshop before hitting the print button on the new Epson. “They would be surprised to see what big changes could come from just a little work, and how using a calibrated monitor allowed them to see their photo in colors that matched the final print.”
Mr. Taylor is convinced that it’s the phenomenal results of the Epson printer on Canson digital art paper that’s allowed his students to do so well in the jurored art shows the college participates in, including the National Art Awards. The school had three winners last year, and one was a student of Mr. Taylor’s.
And even though one of the jurors donated an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 Printer to his classroom, he’s still looking to get an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 or 9900 large-format printer for his students.
“My upper level students deserve it, and they respect the machine and materials. Their work is amazing, and it’s worth printing beautifully. And for that, it has to be an Epson printer.”