My Teachers: Pat Bishop

My Teachers will post on seminal teachers who helped shape, guide, inform and in some cases told me never to make that particular picture again.
I’ll start with the teacher that began all of this photography mess I’ve gotten myself into. Seriously, if there was one person whom I could pay tribute to it would be Patricia Bishop. Pat taught part time photography at the University of Akron. I was a failing uninspired graphic design student. I took Pat’s class by accident (ah those checkboxes) and after 1 semester with her changed my major to photography and ran more tri-x film through my 35mm than a movie film camera. Pat basically took no sh#t, and though I had no idea what I was doing did nothing but encourage my enthusiasm. She taught with a style of no pretense, backed up her ideas with historical examples. Most of all, what i’ve taken from my experience with her is that simple hard work would equal grand results.
I can recall days where I had 20 rolls of film to develop and not enough time for making prints for critique. When asking for an extension, she simply said ‘no, manage your time better’. Needless to say I somehow made the 20 prints every two weeks.
Weekly I would happily hand over contact sheets to Pat and she would comb them over, helping me edit. On one occasion noticing a few portraits on the contacts she simply suggested to make several of these.
Pat’s own work was in the tradition of Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander and Larry Fink. I can recall one image of a young girl staring in a department store window at a wedding dress. Sadly I can’t find much of Pat’s work online or otherwise. She is alive and well in Ohio and I’ve seen her a few times since.
Since I can’t find any of Pat’s own photography, here is some I did in her class:


  1. Posted February 12, 2007 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    it’s amazing how one person can lead to such a change in life, and how one person, such as that teacher, can be so influential.

    your story makes me want to see her work. it also reminds me of the people who taught me and inspired me when i was first learning photography. those were the days of me walking around ripping off paul strand and walker evans at every chance.

    hearing you talk about rolls and rolls of tri-x brings back some memories too. film! i have to admit that i still haven’t quite settled into the whole digital thing…it’s good, just different.

    there are certainly times when i miss my old wisner, my m6, and my old scratched up TLR rollei.

    hmmm. maybe it’s time to get me another rollei, just for the hell of it.

  2. Posted February 13, 2007 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Rolls/sheets of film shot still does equal work done in these parts. Call me a luddite 😉

  3. Posted February 14, 2007 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    can’t wait to see the post on weinstein!

    this will be a nice series of posts. often, students understand the full girth of great teachers only years later. bless their hearts!

  4. Posted February 20, 2007 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Hey I just saw these photos tonight in the issue of Phat Photo that I bought here in Tokyo. It was a nice article about your work. Congratulations on such exposure in Japan !

  5. Posted February 20, 2007 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the feedback. I was worried about that interview. Is Phat photo a big magazine? I haven’t seen a copy yet.

  6. Posted February 21, 2007 at 2:01 am | Permalink


    I blogged a little about it on my site- please take a look.

    Next step is to get you a show here.

  7. Posted February 25, 2007 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Were any of there photos published somewhere?
    the two girls in the Denny’s seems familiar?

  8. Posted February 26, 2007 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Hmm not sure Mark. I think an old catalog for the University of Akron school of art used the picture on their cover.

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