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).

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