Posted: June 28, 2014 by PJ Abode in General

Welcome to MindSpace!

MindSpace is a space committed to a meeting of minds through sharing, and by sharing we hope to form a strong sense of community that all can rely on for joy, support, and aspiration.

Decades after they were friends in a junior high school in Lucerne, Switzerland, Carmelo Fiannaca recently reunited, via email, with Juan Carlos Serrano – thanks to SMC Community Ed.

Mosaic art instructor Carmelo Fiannaca

Spaniard Serrano, who now lives in Barcelona, left a note for his old friend Fiannaca – an SMC mosaic art instructor and award winning and internationally exhibited artist – after reading an article about Fiannaca on SMC Community Ed’s blog, SMC Mindspace.

The note, which was forwarded to Fiannaca and was written in German (Lucerne is in German-speaking Switzerland), said, “You will not believe it, but this is Juan from Lucerne. . . (We) were very big fans of the group KISS and had common school friends. . . I would be very happy to hear from you again and get back in touch.”

“It’s amazing,” Fiannaca said about hearing from his former classmate. “I was just blown away.”

Serrano found the Mindspace blog on Fiannaca by doing a Google search. The blog entry comes up fourth in a Google search of the artist.

Juan Carlos Serrano, then and now

The two were in junior high school together from about the ages of 12 to 15 roughly 40 years ago, in the mid- to late-70s. Although Fiannaca was born in Agrigento Sicily, Italy, his family moved to Switzerland when he was young.

Fiannaca said he has been corresponding by email and phone with Serrano and plans to visit him in 2019 in Barcelona.

“I remember him to be a shy teenager,” Fiannaca said of Serrano. “He sounded very confident on the phone and he has really changed as a adult.”

Juan Carlos Serrano, today

“The really unbelievable thing is I’ve never been to Barcelona and I’m the biggest Gaudi fan, and my work is like Gaudi,” he said, referring to the Spanish architect whose work – which often incorporates mosaic art – is found all over Barcelona.

Fiannaca, whose commissioned work can be seen throughout America (including John Wayne’s former estate), has been teaching mosaic art at SMC Community Ed for seven years. Though he plans to return to Sicily this month to buy a house and eventually create an art and cooking retreat, he said he loves doing the course so much he will return to Los Angeles twice a year to teach. His Introduction to Mosaic Art and Mosaic Art IIclasses both began Oct. 20.

Fiannaca has been creating art from a very young age. By 10 years old, he gained attention through his comics and stories, whose illustrations showed advanced abilities in art. During a summer trip to Sicily, Carmelo discovered the Cathedral of Monreale in Palermo where he became inspired to explore the color, texture and surfaces of mosaic art.

He received his degree from Plattenleger Verband in Lucerne, Switzerland in design, restoration, fabrication and installation. Carmelo continued his studies through a scholarship from the National Art Association and later ended up at SMC, where he received his degree from the School of Design, Art and Architecture.

The path that led Fiannaca to SMC’s art school was actually a musical one. A guitarist, he came to Los Angeles in 1993 to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Afterwards, he started playing in clubs and bars in Hollywood with a band called Big Muckamuck, whose lead signer was Tequila, a well-known vocalist.

“That’s what kept me here,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘This is fun.’ But on the side, I was making mosaic tables.”

Fiannaca is looking forward to reuniting in person with Serrano.

“I think there are no coincidences in life,” Fiannaca said.  “Once a situation like this unravels you have to explore it. I can’t wait to sit with him in Barcelona and have a glass of wine and some tapas over a nice conversation about our lives.”

SMC Community Ed instructor Anita Gill has always been in love with the written word, particularly in nonfiction forms. And now she’s spreading that passion for writing as a teacher, focusing on blogs, memoir and essays.

Anita Gill

Anita Gill started her award-winning writing career with a book blog. “I love reading,” she said, “so I decided to have a blog on books, to start to be an informal book reviewer.”

But after awhile she gave up her book blog and progressed to essays and memoir. In fact, she is currently writing a collection of essays about growing up in a mixed-race family – her father is from India, her mother is German-Polish – and the issues of identity culture and trauma from her experiences.

Gill started teaching a Blog Writing class at SMC Community Ed this summer and will be taking over the Memoir Writing class in October after Monona Wali stopped teaching the course a year ago. Gill was impressed with her students’ blogs, one of which has been published on Community Ed’s blog site, SMC Mindspace. Gill has also taught English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) in SMC’s academic program for the past five years.

She holds an M.A. in Literature from American University in Washington, D.C. and an M.F.A. in Writing with a focus in Nonfiction from Pacific University in Oregon. She has received grants and residencies from Pacific University and Vermont Studio Center.

She has published her writing in blogs for BrevityWomen Who Submit (both of these links will get you to pieces she wrote that can help writers of any form), WordTrance, and other venues. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Rumpus, Hippocampus Magazine, and elsewhere. She won the 2018 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction for one of her essays.

For the past few years, she has been a volunteer teaching some evening creative writing classes for a nonprofit, including the personal narrative, which is similar to memoir writing. The key difference is that a narrative focuses on an event, while a memoir centers on an individual, who is usually the writer of the book.

Anita Gill

What do you like about teaching personal narrative?

 I love the opportunity to read and listen to my students’ work. Every student has a different voice and tone in their lines, and I’m always impressed with their work.  

What do you like about teaching Blog Writing?

I like discussing the types of blogs out there and helping students figure out what their platform will be about. It’s wonderful to watch their faces light up as they explain the things they’re passionate about.

What kinds of students have you had so far at SMC Community Ed?

 My students have been of a variety of ages and backgrounds. It has been great because the students not only enjoy the content of the class, but they also love to better understand their classmates.

 What books are on your nightstand? 

I don’t have a nightstand, but I have a list of books to read. Some of them are memoirs like All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung and Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Along with teaching workshops, I lead a local chapter of the organization, Women Who Submit. Our organization welcomes women and non-binary writers to meet once a month to discuss and encourage one another to submit work to journals, agents, and contests.

Anita Gill will teach Memoir Writing Workshop beginning Wednesday, Oct. 17.

(Carmen Love was a student in SMC Community Ed’s Blog Writing class this summer taught by Anita Gill. Love wrote the following blog entry for the class.)

By Carmen Love

There is power in surrender. There, where you least trust it, and when you least expect it, a torrent of strength wells deep—an undercurrent so startling, it seems to spring from a different source. And yet, once you’ve given into it, it becomes easily accessible. You wonder how you ever missed it, this phantom limb that was attached to you all along.

It’s counterintuitive. We obsess with control over the perfect tone, the perfect pitch, the perfect execution. Yet, like so many other things in life, the tighter we grasp them, the more quickly we lose them. Like love, water or grains of sand. Power is a fickle lover who slips your embrace under the covers and runs off with the neighbor on the back of a motorcycle in the middle of the night. There’s no convincing Power. Power needs space.

And not just any space—not the symbolic, domestic space of reading side-by-side on the couch—but the wild freeness you find up in the mountains. The vast echo in your mind’s eye when you sit in meditation before sunrise, finding the spaces between words, between thoughts. The kind of space that takes decades of dedication and self-discipline.

Perhaps that’s why so much has been said about the relationship between the chakras and music, especially the voice. Each chakra represents an energy center that holds a space on the body, one related to a note on the musical scale. The fifth chakra happens to be the throat chakra—the blue one, the color of space, the “Heavenly Pool” at the roof of your mouth. It’s the color of oceans and travel. The color of pentatonic scales and harmonicas, of the sad note that lingers onstage at the end of the night, suspended in a cloud of smoke. It’s the color of depth and truth and sadness. The space created by putting distance between yourself and your wants. Surrender. The power is in letting go. In letting your truest self vibrate at your natural frequency. And in doing so, discovering your true voice.

Not the one you think you should sound like, not the sound of your influences or your heroes. But the sound you were meant to bring into the world. The power that comes with trusting what you know and letting go, so that you may manifest fully, in all your resonance.

Carmen Love is an award-winning, Los Angeles-based Creative Director who specializes in producing culturally-relevant ideas that transcend borders and media.

Originally from Mexico City, she grew up in a utopian international community in the jungles of Veracruz, before moving to the concrete wilderness of New York, Chicago, and now L.A.

Over the years, she’s had the pleasure of working with many talented people at places like Crispin Porter + Bogusky, TBWA\CHIAT\DAY LA and Mexico City, where I was hired to co-found the first Latin American office and spearhead the Creative Department. I’ve also enjoyed leading and collaborating with multidisciplinary global teams at Ogilvy & Mather, DDB/Gibert S2 and Terán\TBWA.

Her work has won multiple awards, including a Grand Clio, a Yellow Pencil at One Show, Gold and Bronze Clios, a Cannes Lion, along with honors from The Webbys.

Aside from her career, her great passions continue to be music, culture, technology and global collaboration—so much so, that she recently became a digital citizen of Estonia as part of a transnational program that fosters location-independent businesses.

Most of all, she says she still believes that creativity is a driving force to change the world for the better.



SMC Extension/Community Education will be offering a new class this fall, “Property Management – Residential, Commercial, Industrial,” a career in which employment prospects are solid.

Los Angeles is filled with commercial, residential and industrial properties needing managers (Photo by Dietmar Rabich, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

In fact, employment of property, real estate and community association managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although SMC Extension/Community Ed has offered residential property management courses in the past, this class also covers the commercial and industrial areas as well. And the course will be taught by an instructor who brings more than 25 years of experience in real estate.

Donyea Adams has provided professional real estate advisory services for both the public and private sectors, and previous private sector assignments include commercial real estate advisory services, affordable housing resident manager and affordable housing rehabilitation development management.

Adams received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Pepperdine University in 2004 and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California School of Policy Planning and Development in 2008.

He has maintained an active California Real Estate Broker license since 1994. In 2009, he set up a consulting service to provide professional real estate advisory and investment services to corporations, private entities and local government authorities.

What are the rewards of property management?

The reward is to provide a service to a property owner that will result in generating income, delivering well-qualified tenants, and increasing the market value of the property.

What are the challenges?

The challenges to property management are the legal issues that can disrupt the property operation such as evictions, as well as city and state compliance. Also, staying in front of the rental market by providing leasing comps and market analysis.

A Koreatown apartment building (Photo by downtowngal, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Please explain briefly the differences between residential, commercial and industrial property management and what can be expected with each.

The differences between residential, commercial and industrial property management are numerous. Residential property management is focused on managing homes and apartment communities for the benefit of tenant possession and use. Tenants will reside on the property as a long-term residence or short-term residence. The lease agreement for residential property is typically 6 months to 1 year. The property conditions are regulated at the local, state, and federal level. The security deposit is based on the property being furnished or vacant and the maintenance of the property is generally the responsibility of the property management agent or property owner. The property manager will focus on selecting the best-qualified tenant, maintaining the property in good condition, and generating as much income as possible for the landlord/owner.

Commercial and industrial property management is very different than residential management. Commercial and industrial tenant communities are small and large businesses that need to occupy space to conduct their business. The lease terms can expand from 6 months to 30 years. The property use and condition can be controlled by the tenant. The lease type will fluctuate depending on what the landlord and tenant agree to pay.

So with these minimal differences in residential and commercial/industrial leasing the property manager focused on commercial and industrial property needs to have the skill set to provide both the landlord and the tenant with a service that will add value to the leasing experience. The commercial property manager needs to understand the environmental issues the property may have as well as the legal complexity of a lease agreement. The manager is associated with trade organizations that cater to commercial, industrial, and office rentals and development and typically the property manager will have an advanced college degree.

An industrial park (Photo by Uwe Haring, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

What kinds of opportunities are there in commercial and industrial property management in L.A.?

There are lots of opportunities in property management. A person can work as an asset manager, leasing agent, or property supervisor. The entry to the industry is not difficult but may require training, a degree and understanding of the commercial and industrial market. Commercial and industrial property management requires a dedication to managing commercial and industrial real estate and is typically exclusive to that real estate category. The salary is different as well and tends to offer a higher salary than residential property management. Commercial property management is typically tied to commercial real estate sales and in both cases requires a real estate broker or salesperson license.

Donyea Adams will teach“Property Management – Residential, Commercial, Industrial,”  Oct. 20-27.

Photo by Ailin Blour

In January, SMC Community Ed entered into a fruitful relationship with SMC Fashion program instructors who asked us to offer classes to supplement their academic classes that are crucial to fashion industry training, to existing students as well as interested members of the public.

Four months later, the SMC Fashion Department held its highly anticipated and stunningly creative annual fashion show, LA MODE 2018 – and SMC Community Ed was pleased to have contributed in the stellar event.

See more photos from the LA MODE 2018

“We’ve been offering two classes, Tech Pack and Commercial Sewing Bootcamp, both taught by wonderful instructors from the academic program,” said Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education. “Fashion students from the main campus have been able to take our classes, not only for their careers but also to help them prepare their garments for LA MODE.

Photo by Jeff Bynum

“I was blown away by the student creations I saw at the fashion show, many of which held great potential to one day be on a Paris or New York runway,” Meyering said.

Then, in another synergistic connection, SMC photography students took the images of the show that are included in this article.

Photo by Ailin Blour

“SMC Community Ed has had a long and rewarding relationship with the academic Photography program – several of their instructors have taught our successful classes for decades,” Meyering said. And, interestingly, Photography and Fashion are combined into one academic department.

“I am thrilled that we now have a stake, however modest, in LA MODE, which displays the incredible works of our future designers. And I expect to continue to have a fantastic relationship with the Photography and Fashion Department,” Meyering said. “It’s particularly rewarding to see how students are able to benefit from our program as well as the for-credit program, and how we are often able to feed students into the academic classes.”

By Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education

Shauna Murray is the kind of student we love. In Spring 2015 she registered for her first photography class at SMC Community Ed and was so inspired she continued to take classes, not only with us but also in the academic program on the main SMC campus.

Shauna Murray, Self Portrait. This image won “Best Lifestyle Photo” in the 2018 SMC Student Photo Show.

Three years later, she is just 10 academic units short of getting a Photography Certificate from SMC, she won an award in the recent Annual SMC Student Photo Show (“Best Lifestyle Photo”), and she is working in the photography field – collaborating with designers, brands, producers, stylists, creative directors and other photographers.

“If you had told me four years ago that I’d be a professional photographer now I wouldn’t have believed you,” Shauna told us. “I’ve been so grateful for the guidance and support I’ve gotten from SMC, both Community Ed and the academic program. It’s definitely changed my life.”

Shauna Murray photo, taken from the High Line in New York City

Shauna, who lives in Venice after having moved 10 years ago from Colorado, was working as the Communications Director for a music-and-arts-based nonprofit in Los Angeles when a friend of hers told her she was taking a photography class at SMC Community Ed.

Shauna jumped at the opportunity to join her friend because, though she said she cared deeply about the work her organization was doing, she found herself spending the majority of her time working on tedious projects when she really wanted to be out in the field doing more creative work.

“I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures,” she said, “mostly snapshots of friends and family, places I’ve traveled, everyday life, and I started posting more images on Facebook and Instagram. I was pleasantly surprised with the positive feedback I received. Social media provided a fun place to make art of the everyday and share it with others without taking myself too seriously. At some point though, I started to ask myself ‘why not take this a little more seriously?'”

Rooftop Wedding, photo by Shauna Murray

She got a DSLR digital camera – previously all her images were captured on her cell phone or a point-and-shoot camera – and registered in Larry Jones’ Basic Photography class.

She loved it so much she continued to take another four classes at Community Ed and also started taking courses in the academic program in Fall 2015. In 2017, she was presented with an opportunity to make a career change and follow her passion into the photography field.

“The SMC Community Ed and academic programs have been so great and I’ve gotten to learn so much from these instructors and their professional expertise,” Shauna told us. “I’ve really learned to look at things differently and compose an image and tell a story and think about lighting and other aspects. I learned to think like a photographer.”

Photo by Shauna Murray

She finds LA an ideal city in which to create images.

“I’m often inspired by my surroundings in LA, whether it’s the natural beauty of the coast, the mural-covered streets of the city or the diverse mix of people and cultures that converge here,” she said. “In Community Ed workshops with Ed Mangus I discovered new places right here in LA that I’d never explored before. I also rediscovered places I thought I knew well and I saw them in a new way, with a photographer’s eye.”

She continued, “Photography brings so much joy to my life and my goal is for that to come through in my work. As an English major undergrad at the University of Colorado at Boulder I learned to think like a storyteller, and that’s how I approach photography, too. Whether I’m working with a client to execute their vision, or working on a personal project, I love figuring out how to tell a story with my camera.”

Thank you, Shauna, for inspiring us as much as we have inspired you.

You can also follow Shauna Murray on Instagram and Facebook.

Inspired by Shauna’s story? Are you ready to experience our photography classes yourself. Register into Fall semester’s Basic Digital Photography & Intermediate Digital Photography today, and you could be experiencing an amazing transformation just like Shauna!

We asked our Italian, French and Spanish instructors to give us tips for those who are planning to visit Italy, France or Chile this summer. Each of these instructors has great insight into the respective countries – and here is what they had to say!



Italian for Travelers will let students explore how to manage any situation they might face during their travels. From their arrival at any airports in Italy – gates, customs, baggage claims, duty free, etc. In regards to Uber, it is no longer active so travelers need to rely on alternatives for transportation to get to their destinations. At the hotels, I advise travelers follow concierge recommendations. At rental car companies, for scooters or drive friends/family vehicles, travelers are required to get the international driving license, which is only $20 and lasts for one year. You can get more information at the Triple A site.

If you prefer cycling, you will be able to use the City Share bikes similar to what is offered in Los Angeles. In case of emergencies, such as going to the hospital, visits are free of charge or a maximum of a few euros for treatment and medication! I also recommend that if you plan to shop, learn about the European sizes (different than those in America), familiarize yourself with textiles, and by all means, learn about the amazing cuisine!

Silvia Masera, Italian for Travelers


The charming Montmartre area of Paris

As you travel, enjoy the local sites. Rent an apartment or AirBnB in lieu of staying at a hotel. Shop and visit areas where the locals “hang out:” open markets, flea markets, local supermarkets, etc. Have conversations with them about the history and culture of the area (learn the history, experience the culture firsthand). Go to a local sports game.

If you want to do a tour of Paris, experience the boat ride on the Seine River, which has a guide who will explain the various historical sites and places. Or take the Big Bus Tour, which basically does the same. Also, a mini-tour in a Deux Chevaux (old French style car, loosely meaning 2 horsepower) can be fun as well. In the latter two, you can “hop on and hop off” at various stops.

Be adventurous and design your own tour.  Everyone doesn’t have the same desires.  Even, if you dare, take a cooking class and/or a language immersion class, which can last from 30 to 90 days.

Harriette McCauley, Beginning Conversational French for Travelers – Level 1


Santiago, Chile (Photo by Rodrigo Pizzaro, Wikimedia Commons)

Visit Northern Chile where the famous Hubble Telescope is and where the sky is the clearest in the world. Check the salt lagoons where you can float like in the Dead Sea. Discover fauna you only see in books: alpacas, condors, etc. or go to Patagonia where you can find the gorgeous glaciers. A must is Torres del Paine and staying at Explora Hotel (if you can afford it), which is in the heart of the park. Don’t wait too long – the glaciers are going to disappear in 30 years!

Go to Valparaíso, the main seaport and visit Cerro Alegre where many artists live and adorn the walls of this wonderful town (similar to San Francisco) with beautiful paintings. You can also get wonderful jewelry (Chile is famous for Lapiz lazuli)

Go to Viña del Mar, resort town suburb of Valparaîso. You can drive towards ConCon along the Pacific Ocean and stop by in any of the wonderful restaurants along the ocean to savor fish and seafood.

Visit Zapallar and eat at Chiringuito.  Fantastic food and Chilean wines. Zapallar and Papudo are resort towns on the water.

Visit Pablo Neruda’s home (famous Chilean poet and Nobel price winner) in Isla Negra – now a museum.

Go to Santiago, the capital. Climb to Cerro San Cristóbal to have a panoramic view of the city and take the funicular to the other side of town and land in Los Dominicos. The Old Spanish Monastery is now turned into an open market with all kinds of mementos: art and crafts, pottery, jewelry, antique furniture, etc. You can also eat here in a restaurant or have a soda and a sandwich in one of the smaller places.

Visit downtown Santiago – the oldest church, Pre-Columbian Museum, La Moneta (presidential palace), etc. Barrio Bellavista (artists), Plaza de Armas. evening cocktails at La Piojera (try pisco sour), and at sunset go to Sky Costanera.

You can’t leave Chile without visiting the vineyards around Santiago: Concha y Toro, Undurraga, Santa Rita, Cousiño Macul – all about 40 kilometers from Santiago or on your way to Viña del Mar, the vineyards in Casablanca.

The monetary unit is the PESO and right now the equivalent is about $640 to a dollar. You can change money easily at the airport or in any Casa de Cambio.

Drones have entered the national consciousness in many ways over the past few years, but what most people probably don’t know is that the future of careers in commercial drone piloting is booming.

Barry Brennen, who will teach the Commercial Drone Pilot Training program

The Federal Aviation Administration projects the commercial, small drone fleet is set to grow from 110,000-plus in 2017 to almost 452,000 in 2022. The number of commercial remote pilots is set to increase from 73,000-plus in 2017 to 301,000 in 2022.

And so, SMC Extension/Community Education – always on the lookout for training opportunities in careers with exceptional growth projections – will debut its Commercial Drone Pilot Training program this fall.

“I think the future in this is huge,” says Barry Brennen, owner of Redondo Beach-based Flying Lion, Inc., who will teach the courses for Extension/Community Ed. “The industry is growing because there are so many applications.”


The applications for drone use seem endless and grow every day – for law enforcement agencies, property developers, energy companies, nature preserves and environmentalists, cinema, agriculture and more.

Flying Lion, for example, has mostly law enforcement clients (including the Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach Police Departments) that find drones helpful for many uses – including barricaded subject situations, serving search warrants (to detect anyone fleeing from the scene), beach crime monitoring, and crowd surveillance (such as medical emergencies or lost children).

But that’s just one field. Developers can do aerial surveys. Energy and public utility companies can use drones equipped with infrared to detect overheating in cell towers, solar panels, refineries and more. Search and rescue teams can use them for their operations.

And that’s not all. In Africa, where air traffic is much less congested than in most parts of the world and where there are fewer restrictions on drones, the unmanned aircraft are used to track poachers and deliver medication to rural areas, Brennen said.

Environmental and government agencies are using drones nicknamed “snot bots” to monitor whales’ blowholes to determine the health of the large sea mammals.

And at the sprawling Tejon Ranch Conservancy just north of Los Angeles, biologists are examining the distribution of invasive plants, observing the changes in oak canopy cover responding to drought, tracking invasive wild pig damage in sensitive habitats, and monitoring conifer mortality on rugged high elevation slopes.

The Commercial Drone Certification program will have three parts: FAA Test Prep (three Saturdays), Flight Training (two Saturdays) and an Externship, in which students will work 120 hours with a company that uses drones. Cost of the certification program is about $1,700.

Barry Brennen

Brennen, who was in the logistics field for 20 years before starting his company in 2014, said the birth of Flying Lions came about as a result of his Master’s of Business Administration degree at USC. In his Entrepreneurship class, his team had to pitch an idea for a business start-up, and he came up with the idea of a commercial drone firm. His team won the class competition.

As a reserve police officer with the Redondo Beach Police Department, it was a natural for him to reach out to law enforcement when he founded his company.

Then, driven by a passion for his field, he approached El Camino College to start a program and began teaching the certification course. He also teaches at Pasadena City College.

“I just love the teaching aspect of it – particularly the ah-ha moment when the students get it,” he said.

Brennen sees another advantage to commercial drone pilot training.

“Drones are going to be the way to get people excited about aviation,” he said, noting that the industry is facing a shortage of trained commercial pilots. “It’s a great gateway to get into flying.”

Barry Brennen will teach Commercial Drone Pilot Training beginning Oct. 13.

Ford Lowcock has had a long and distinguished career as a photographer and photography instructor at Santa Monica College, and though he has retired from SMC as a full-time professor, he will bring his many skills and talents to Community Ed beginning in July.

Leaving behind a stellar 23-year career on the main campus during which, under his leadership, the Photography Department became widely recognized as one of the top commercial photography programs in the country, Lowcock will team teach with Ed Mangus “Smartphone Photography” July 7 and 14. And this fall he will teach two new classes: “Adobe Photoshop for Photography – MAC” and “Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop – MAC.” Classes are taught in the Photo Department’s main campus labs and facilities.

“Community Ed students have a wonderful desire to learn, to gain new skills and have fun all at the same time,” Lowcock said. “In addition, the program encourages many students to also consider taking academic photography classes. And Community Ed students get access to the main campus’ dark rooms and other facilities, so it’s a great community builder.”

This stunning image by Ford Lowcock was taken on a Smartphone and manipulated.

Lowcock brings with him an impressive list of achievements in photography – including a long list of highly technical and advanced skills – as well as in the academic realm. Before his retirement on Jan. 1 from SMC, he was an unofficial co-chair of the department for more than 10 years and chair for the last four years. He supervised as many as 45 faculty members and participated in the creation of a large percentage of the current photography curriculum.

He was instrumental in building an industry support base providing the department and students networking opportunities.

In addition, he led more than 40 field study photographic weekend workshops for up to 137 students to Death Valley, the Eastern Sierras, Big Sur, Carmel, Joshua Tree National Park, the Salton Sea, Anza Borrego and Yosemite National Park, involving four to six faculty members to help.

In 1998, he designed the department’s first computer lab, and since 1999 he assisted in bringing in approximately $750,000 in grant money.

He has taught many courses from beginning to advanced, including studio lighting, film printing, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, time lapse, business photography and many more.

This Ford Lowcock photo is an example of a final product for an Advanced Digital Printing class, which he will teach in the fall.

An ongoing, personal photographic project of his is on the environmentally endangered Coho salmon of the Klamath River in Northern California and Southern Oregon, where he has documented the many sides of the factors resulting in the decline of the salmon.

“I have photographed and told the story of Ron Reed, Cultural Biologist for the Karuk Tribe, Native Americans, who have lived in the mid-Klamath basin for thousands of years,” he said. “I photographed and told the stories of steep ground logging and privately owned lands with managed logging, and cattle ranchers who own land but also have cattle grazing on public land, as well as environmentalists in the area.”

In “Smartphone Photography” which will include a field trip to a location in Los Angeles, students will learn how to capture the mood and feel of the city using smartphone cameras. The instructors will teach students to develop a pair of discerning eyes and find out what to look for and how to take artistic photographs that are more than just snapshots, Lowcock said.

Another Ford Lowcock Smartphone image that was modified.

In “Adobe Photoshop for Photography – MAC” students will learn how to express their imaginations and create their own dream worlds with Adobe Photoshop.  They will explore digital imaging and the basic principles of photographic control and manipulation, as well as finding out how to turn ordinary photographs into works of art.

In the “Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop – MAC,”  which is limited to a maximum of eight students, Lowcock will demonstrate how to bring printmaking to a higher level. He said students will “have to have a strong desire to make personal expressive photographic prints.”

“Ford’s workshop was an eye opener for me,” said student Sara Peterson. “I have a new understanding of how to create a print that begins with processing of the RAW image. The small group size gave us the ability to deconstruct our methods and rebuild where needed. I came away with a stronger workflow, a better understanding of color, and confidence in my technique.”

Ford Lowcock

Aside from teaching, Lowcock will be busy in other arenas as well. He plans to assist scientific companies and university academic departments, including archaeology, with projects where photography can be a useful tool for various projects.

“Through association with the archaeology department at SMC I came to realize that using mobile devices such as the camera in our smart phones could be a very important tool in field archaeology research and possibly in other sciences,” he said. “I developed applied field applications that utilize small, versatile lighting sources, a list of cell phone apps that could be used to maximize image quality for fine detail, color clarity and remove distortion, and additional supplemental equipment such as add-on camera phone lenses.”

Lowcock is looking forward to his next chapter at SMC Community Ed. “It’s a great place,” he said, “for instructors to try things out outside the academic curriculum.”

Ford Lowcock will teach with Ed Mangus “Smartphone Photography” July 7 and 14. His fall classes will be “Adobe Photoshop for Photography – MAC” (Sept. 8-Oct. 6), and “Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop – MAC” (Oct. 27-Nov. 3).

By Michelle King, Director of Career & Contract Education

I’m pleased to announce that starting this fall, SMC Community Ed will be offering courses designed to meet the needs of beginners seeking to launch a career in the field of IT and courses for more seasoned professionals that are seeking to add a nationally recognized certification.

The courses are being offered through a new – and unique – partnership with SimpliLearn (formerly Market Motive) that allows us to offer specially priced bundled courses. All the courses are online and self-paced.

Among the bundle of courses to be offered is Project Management Specialist, which will include classes in PMP, Microsoft Project 2013 and Agile Scrum Master. This bundle of courses is designed for those with five years of related experience.

Also to be offered will be Big Data Specialist, which will include classes in Big Data Hadoop & Spark Developer and Data Science with Python. It is appropriate for a learner with fluency in Core Java, and some amount of familiarity with Python and Scala but not necessarily fluency.

The beginner courses are offered through California’s Eligible Training Provider List. Please contact us at commed@smc.edu or (310) 434-3400 for more information.