Photography is a love and a passion of millions of people worldwide. For many artists, journalists, students and professionals, photography is a love and a lifelong pursuit. Very soon, however, traditional photography courses will no longer be available to the majority of Temple students. The closing of the TUCC photography lab is heartbreaking to professors and students of all majors who have found their passion in photography.
President Adamany’s administration, which has touted an ethic of listening to the needs of the students and enhancing the quality of Temple’s educational offerings, has demonstrated a tremendous failure to meet the needs of Temple’s photography students. The administration was informed over the summer that the ventilation necessary for a darkroom would not be installed in the new TUCC building, forcing the TUCC photography lab to close on Dec. 5.
In response, administration has made no efforts to ensure that Temple students will have access to a wet-process photography lab in the future. The administration also failed to inform students of the lab’s closing. If a new photography lab is not constructed, an entire course of study will be eliminated, and many art majors will not have access to the classes necessary to fulfill the requirements for their major.
Richard Englert, vice president of Administration, spoke with a group of photography students on Friday, Oct. 26 on the steps of Sullivan Hall and was presented with a petition signed by over 100 students to prevent the closing of the TUCC photography lab. Englert was unaware of the situation faced by Temple’s photography students, and was ignorant of the importance of wet-process, film-based photography and of the economics of photography.
Believing that that courses in digital photography and other departments would be sufficient replacements, Englert thought closing the lab would have no impact.
In fact, digital photography is distinctly different from wet-process photography, and the two are considered by the art world to be separate categories. Wet-process photography is also a more cost-effective long-term investment for the University than digital photography.
Wet-process, film-based photography is a respected art form and an essential part of a photographer’s education, and will never be completely replaced by digital technology. Temple’s two other darkrooms, one at Tyler and one in the photojournalism department, are not equipped to handle the six courses displaced by the closing of the TUCC photography lab.
Although the students who spoke with Englert were told that President Adamany was not on campus that day, a photography student, Tina Delia and a recent graduate, Yema Ferreira found Adamany in the SAC Food Court shortly after the meeting with Englert.
Instead of angrily dismissing the concerns of a large number of Temple students, Adamany should be considering the implications of not offering darkroom facilities for art photography students.
With the closing of the TUCC photography lab, the University stands to lose prestige, funding and enrollment. With other area universities still committed to wet-process photography, Temple University’s reputation has already begun to suffer. Several Temple seniors are being forced to work out deals to complete their degrees at other institutions, and the University has already lost several transfer students due to the lack of a wet-process photography lab. Allowing the photography lab to remain closed for any length of time hurts the students and the University.
The only way for the University to recover from this blunder is for the Adamany administration to make a commitment to ensure that wet-process photography facilities remain available to Temple students.