The Summer Intensive Experience: Week 11

Finished. Fini. Finito. Terminado. In any language it’s stated, this is the final week of Summer Intensive 2012 and first of the three sessions comprising our Career Training program. Always a bittersweet time, the last week is definitely anything but a “cruise week” for the folks as they, again, are put through their paces. Early on, they had one more round of location shooting with studio lighting equipment and flash in various locations around town in the last Lighting portion of SI. The scenarios involved group shots and creative and fun use of location, props and people. One location was in the historic Wilma Theater. Did we say the students had fun??? Also, the final Edit class was the last bit of critique of complex composited images.

And of course, the final project presentations were given in their last Visual Studies class. Throughout the entire course, instructor Eileen Rafferty has been educating, guiding and shepherding the students in the process of growing as artists in photography. The requirements of the presentations were that the artwork be presented in a way that helps tell “the story” of the piece and that the student write an artist statement to be read by them in class to fellow group members, staff and instructors and be critiqued. You can imagine how much blood, sweat and tears they pour into their final and we are truly blown away by what they come up with. The presentations are sometimes massive, sometimes miniscule and every size in between. Multiple images or a singular one, it’s a truly one-of-a-kind piece with true meaning behind each. The absolute last bit of inspirational learning experience the students have is a final large group lecture this morning with accomplished Canon Explorers of Light travel/nature photographer, Darrel Gulin.

Today is graduation day involving a gallery set up in the classrooms of the students’ collective finals, and reception for all of the students and their families in the RMSP Gallery. Then the graduation ceremony later this afternoon on the University of Montana campus with all of the RMSP instructors, staff, students, friends and family present. There will be a slideshow of work from each student, speeches by instructors and representative students, tears, laughter and hugs. A “last hurrah” and send-off appropriate for such an intensive, fulfilling experience these incredible individuals significantly contribute to. Another graduating class is born and we look forward see where their journeys in photography take them. Congratulations to the graduates of RMSP Summer Intensive 2012!