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Comments About James Friedman’s Teaching+History of Teaching

"I have benefited more in these past few months studying with you than I did in four years of undergraduate school as a photography major. Thank you so much.” — Merrilee Luke Ebbeler, Cincinnati, Ohio 

"If you are a student of photography, willing to work at your craft and art, Jim Friedman is among the best, if not the best teacher on the planet.” — Ted Rice, Mount Vernon, Ohio 

“Jim provided the best critique of my photographs I have ever had and I have attended many photography workshops around the country.” — John Lutz, Portland, Oregon 

“I often talk to my students about that one person you meet in life who changes you, that one person who opens your eyes, that one person who demands you be more than you thought you ever could be or had the capacity to be. For me, that person was Jim Friedman. Through his expert teaching, Jim Friedman changed how I saw the world but, more importantly, how I saw myself. I am sure if you ask any of his students they will confirm that he is truly a unique individual who one would be lucky in life to meet.” — Joel Slayton, San Jose, California 

“…Friedman is also the best sort of art teacher…I witnessed his total commitment to the mission of teaching; it was a life-changing experience for many young artists, and an inspiration for his colleagues. His teaching has challenged photographers to find what is original and genuine within their own makeup and in their interactions with the world; his students have excelled in their photographic work, but not by reproducing Friedman’s style and subject matter…” — J. Ronald Green, Columbus, Ohio 

“There’s an old adage that goes something like 'those who can’t, teach.' Jim Friedman turns that idea on its ear, proving that a master of photography can also be a master of teaching. Jim challenges his students to approach the art form in ways that he, himself, has confronted over the years: unapologetically, and with points of view that carve out new perspectives, not just for the viewer but as a creative process for making sense of life’s inherent complexities. Education to Jim isn’t about the technicalities of a camera, but rather how the device acts as a tool for better excavating the human experience, and how it can serve to expose weird and wild and often tortured layers of emotional response during the quest. He is patient and deliberate as a teacher, and gentle… but always pressing – challenging students to stretch beyond their comfort zone, even outside the barriers of photographic convention. And isn’t that the definition of art itself? Why do it, he seems to suggest (although rarely out loud), if you’re afraid to break glass. I once had a sign over my dorm room in college: 'Dare to be great' it read, in bold, handwritten letters. Years later, I met the professor.”  — Hal Robert Myers, Santa Rosa, California 

“As a teacher of photography who conducts many courses and workshops, Friedman’s devotion is unparalleled and he has many loyal students. He has helped energize and advance the careers of many Ohio artists who have gone on to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Photographer's Fellowship, eleven Ohio Arts Council Excellence Awards, and two Greater Columbus Arts Council Individual Artist's Fellowships. At my invitation, Friedman gave a lecture and conducted daylong critiques at Wayne State University which was extremely well received by students who were enlivened, enlightened and inspired by his critiques. It is testimony to his charismatic form of pedagogy that in 2008 Friedman was nominated for the Excellence in Photographic Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding international teachers of photography. He has been nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Award three other times.” — Dora Apel, Detroit, Michigan  

“Jim’s contribution to the arts as a teacher has been and continues to be substantial and pervasive. Those of us who taught with Jim at Ohio State recognized him as the most stimulating studio teacher in the Department of Photography and Cinema. A number of Jim’s undergraduate students were admitted to the best MFA programs in the country while his graduate students were awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, among others. Since then, he has continued a distinguished career as an award-winning teacher of photography both within academia and in his classes, workshops and mentoring as an independent educator.” — Jonathan Green, Riverside, California 

"James Friedman's dedication to photography is unique. He puts all his experience, love and passion into his work. The day I started discussing my work with him changed everything. He brought my photography to a much higher level and taught me to see things much clearer. Even though I live in Germany and Jim in America, the distance is not an issue. We work on our computers and use the phone for our discussions. Jim is the best teacher, coach, adviser and mentor I've ever had." — Michael Werner, Frankfurt, Germany 

"There are not many true masters in our society — people who dedicate their lives to a discipline that leads to a profound understanding, expertise and transcendence in their field.  Jim Friedman has attained such mastery through his commitment and passion for photography.  He is also extraordinarily creative in his approach to teaching photography. I am grateful and fortunate for his willingness to share his enthusiasm and inspiration for more than 30 years." — Jo McCulty, Columbus, Ohio 

"I studied with Jim at the very beginning of my life in photography and then again toward the middle of a career as a professional and fine art photographer. In the first case, I won a first prize in an all media art contest, which nailed down my commitment to a career in photo. The second time it moved me out of a creative rut and led to projects that won a Greater Columbus Arts Council Fellowship and two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships. Additionally, my commercial work improved and led to great new editorial clients (New York Times Mag, Fast Company, et al.) and financial success. If you are a student of photography, willing to work at your craft and art, Jim Friedman is among the best, if not the best (teacher) on the planet.” — Ted Rice, Mount Vernon, Ohio 

"Jim Friedman is one of those rare individuals who is both a gifted photographer and a brilliant photography instructor.  He is able to breakdown his students' images and articulate strengths and weaknesses so that they may grow and develop a more specific, individual vision.  My vision and growth skyrocketed after one session, and I am now on my way to developing a solid portfolio…Any serious photographer, amateur or professional, would benefit greatly from sessions with Jim..." — Lisa DiGiacomo, Dublin, Ohio 

“Every time I’ve opened myself to Jim’s mentoring, my photographic work has taken an exciting quantum leap forward. As a result of Jim’s insights, observations and commitment, I have received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, been admitted to one of the best M.F.A. programs in the country and have begun exhibiting my work nationally.” — Lloyd Lemmermann, Portland, Oregon 

“Jim was recommended to me by a fellow photographer who is a former student of his. During the three years Jim has been my teacher, his help and guidance have been immeasurably valuable - it's difficult to put into words how much he helps me. Most of my career as an artist was spent as an illustrator, and only in the last handful of years, did I come to realize photography was where I needed to be. Jim has taught me how to see and think as a photographer. One of Jim’s great strengths is his knowledge of 20th Century photography, but more important is his skill in one- on-one teaching. During our 2+ hour critiques, as we review my recent work Jim makes dozens of comments and recommendations that are inspiring; he provides uncommonly insightful and helpful suggestions regarding both technical matters such as editing and cropping as well as conceptual issues. And if I ever feel I am “stuck” creatively, Jim is the person I call to push me along and help me break through.” — David Mollering, San Diego, California 

"Jim Friedman was willing to accept me as a pre-novice student in his workshop and changed my life. Though not as simple as it may sound, he taught me how to see. He taught an openness to possibilities and experimentation yet with critical awareness.  He taught photography strategies that influence me to this day. He demonstrated how to speak intelligently and coherently about my own work as well as others.  He remains better than Google for references on photographers and their specific practices and interests.  I’ve seen him customize this information and apply it specifically to every person in the workshop, offering personal goals and assignments designed to move work beyond the next level." — Sydney Schardt, Sunbury, Ohio 

“I first met Jim Friedman when I enrolled in one of his workshops early in my photography studies in the 1990s. He unquestionably played a major role in shaping my creative thinking process and I feel fortunate to have been the beneficiary of his extensive knowledge and skillful teaching. He is insightful and has the uncanny ability to recognize how to individually inspire and motivate students to their fullest potential. His willingness to share his knowledge is priceless…To simply say I highly recommend Jim Friedman as an instructor and artist does not nearly convey what an amazing experience/opportunity awaits you in your interactions with him.” — Michelle Mueller, San Diego, California 

"Jim, I think you have no idea how much I owe you for everything you have helped me with. Help with my painting, and just inspiring me get somewhere versus nowhere that I was before ... you have really given me the gift of this big, wide, magical world that I'm painting. I owe you big time! Your ability to teach and inspire is a real gift, Jim.  I am thankful you have been a central part of my life, first as an undergraduate student beginning in 1976 and again now. You have gone above and beyond where any of my other teachers have gone, ever. You have improved my life as well as countless other students. You didn't have to do the things you have done for me, and for that I will be eternally grateful to you. I don't know how I'll be able to ever repay you. Thank you Jim, for all you do for me." — Leslie Wilson, Columbus, Ohio 

History of James Friedman’s Teaching of Photography 

James Friedman Photography Workshops, offered worldwide and online including mentoring, workshops, individual consultation, instruction and portfolio reviews, group critiques and lectures, 1984-present 

Nominated for the Excellence in Photographic Teaching Award that recognizes outstanding international teachers of photography, Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico 2008, 2012 

Santa Fe Community College, Department of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lead Instructor in Photography, Full-time Faculty, 2001-2003 

Nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award, Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, New Mexico 2003 

Ohio Wesleyan University, Department of Fine Arts, Delaware, Ohio, Sabbatical Replacement, Part-time Faculty, 1988 and 1994 

Antioch College, Institute for Media Studies, Yellow Springs, Ohio, Visiting Artist, Part-time Faculty, 1987-1989 

The Ohio State University, Department of Photography and Cinema, Columbus, Ohio, Full-time Faculty, Visiting Assistant Professor, 1975-1977 and Assistant Professor, 1977-1984 

Finalist for the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 1984 

Finalist for the Outstanding Teaching Award of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 1983