College Days

Although Union College was primarily an engineering and pre-med school I started taking art classes with Arnold Bittleman, the lone art professor who was pretty much the entire art department. They offered some photography classes so I took them. After a few weeks Bittleman took me aside and admitted he didn’t know much about the technical side of photography – could I help him out? His dedication as a teacher, mentor and artist was a profound influence. He encouraged experimentation and showed me how to add an artistic sensibility. The art department provided equipment and a darkroom. I got to use the school’s 4×5” Speed Graphic camera for the first time. My horizons expanded as I used new tools and the upstate New York area to inspire me.  Arnie Bittleman helped me think more about aesthetics. I also took a class in “Scientific Photography”  where I photographed bouncing balls with a strobe light and popping water balloons with a very short duration flash and other examples of physics experiments. At the time I had never heard of Berenice Abbott or her gorgeous photographs illustrating the concepts of physics. Many years later that would be a delicious discovery for me. Art and science combined, yahoo!