Q&A with Teaching Assistant Maria Kechri
What class/classes do you help out with?
It really depends on the set of skills required. Having working knowledge of the course material so that you can be useful to the instructor and helpful to the students should be the goal. In my case, due to my graphic design background, I started with assisting in fine art digital printing, which requires high proficiency in Photoshop, and an editing class. Since then I continued mostly with hands-on classes such lighting, food photography, etc. Some of them more than once.
What has your overall experience with ICP been like?
ICP has been a great experience and got me into the world of photography and its community, opening up for me new artistic and professional horizons. The opportunity to get hands-on experience, theoretical and practical knowledge, work on my own projects, and access to all the facilities (like the labs and studios) is really what an aspiring photographer actually needs. I started in ICP in 2009, taking a couple of classes to deepen my photography skills and three years later, I am still here, more involved than ever, falling in love with photography all over again and making a career change.
Which faculty member have you worked with and what was that experience like?
So far I have had the opportunity to work with great photographers such as Ben Gest, Alison Morley, Robert Meyer, Bobbi Lane, Mary Ellen Mark, Benjamin Dimmitt and Susie Cushner. Each time has been different, but in all cases the overall experience was extremely positive. Coming from Europe, where the relationships in the educational process are usually quite "formal," I am always fascinated by the fact that all ICP instructors are so approachable, friendly, and ready to help you out, always treating you as equal.
What are the benefits of being a TA?
Τhis is a great way of getting some teaching experience, learn from the best, and see if this is really something for you. In most cases, it allows you to develop a closer relationship with the instructor and learn a lot about the profession. Being a TA gives you the opportunity to be part of more classes than you probably could afford to take (even if you don’t participate as student) and, in addition, get some credit hours for your work so you can use the labs or put towards a discount in future classes.
Would you recommend being a TA to other young professionals in the field?
Absolutely! It can be hard work and a lot of responsibility especially if you TA lighting classes that involve equipment, but it is totally worth it. The TA program at ICP helps immerse you in photography, absorb a great amount of knowledge, enhance relationships with successful professionals in the field, get in touch with people from all over the world, and build a wide network.
Visit Maria's website: www.photography.mariakechri.com