Something New, But Really Just a Full Circle.

Long lost Diploma

Full Circle

It seems funny how we can move forward, do new things, have new unfamiliar directions and end up going in a full circle. On Monday of this week, I began teaching one course on Professional Practices with Langara College in their Continuing Studies Photographic Department. This is the first full semester of classes I have taught. I have done many one-off lectures and talks for many schools and groups around Vancouver but not ever a full course.
It is a natural progression for me, I have always believed in sharing knowledge, protecting photographers rights, have been deeply involved in community and giving back or paying it forward when I could.

My experience has been both rewarding and at times trying, as is the life of the self employed. We all ride the roller coaster and photography lends itself very well to that. Being asked to teach about Professional Practices to a class of 29 gives me time to reflect on just what does make this business work and how perhaps I can help them avoid some of the mistakes that I have learned from.

As I prepared for the class I wondered how I was going to introduce myself and give them some insight into my experience. I thought about how interesting it was to be teaching in a classroom literally just down the hall from where I studied photography from 1976-1978. Many things have changed but there is still a real familiar feel to being there.

In my introduction to the class, I spoke about my Olympic experiences and goals as a child. How in 1976, I had just returned from Montreal and started my student life at Langara. Many years later, I ended up achieving my goal of involvement in the Olympics working at Vancouver 2010. I was also able to include Langara students, staff and other alumni in work and volunteer positions at the Games in the Press Operations Department. This led to me being recognized by Langara as an Outstanding Alumnus and a chance to give a speech to the 2010 graduating class. I talked about my roots at Langara and how I had come full circle then and here I am again 4 years later teaching a course starting on the eve of the 2014 Games.

All of these have been an important series of events for me, but what really brought things all together was a phone call I received the very next day after my first class. A colleague and past studio mate, Robert Earnest called and said he had a box of my “stuff”. He did not say what it was, except that it had come from our old studio that we left over 12 years ago. I did not know that he had maintained the darkroom and now he was clearing it out.

Robert came by with the box and I opened it with a tremendous amount of curiosity. What I found, was something that brought the full circle right back to the beginning. Along with film reels and tanks, lenses and darkroom accessories there was my College Diploma from Langara. It is yellowed and fragile, the glass long since broken but the diploma is in one piece. How ironic that this long forgotten piece of my photographic education and history shows up now, just as I begin teaching at Langara.

3 Responses to “Something New, But Really Just a Full Circle.”

  1. John Goldsmith Says:

    Great story, Rick!

    Congrats on your new adventure and continued success in whatever form it comes packaged as, as long as it satisfies. Teaching certainly can do that, especially when it’s in the field you are so passionate about.

  2. aliyah Says:

    So happy to hear you are beginning to teach a full course at Langara!

  3. Jane Says:

    What a wonderful journey, Rick. Langara is fortunate to have you back. Best wishes for a successful semester, and continuing along that wheel with the greatest of ease!

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