OCC Photography Alumni Spotlight

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If you are an O.C.C. Photo Alumni, submit a biography.


John Aigner (1997-2000)

Email:   john@johnaigner.com
Website:   www.johnaigner.com

I really cherish my OCC Photo days. To this day they remain in my life as a strong network and circle of friends, which include some of my wonderful teachers. In 2000 I was a really damn proud, faculty-award-receiving, president’s list, honor roll graduate. I stayed on as an OCC lab aid and Citizen’s Advisory Committee member and kept grooming my photo skills. I went on to become an assistant, printer, studio manager, archive keeper and exhibition producer for photographers in Los Angeles. Nowadays I divide my time between L.A. and Berlin, Germany. I shoot fashion and famous people for magazines and commercial clients and still do a lot of personal work (mostly nudes).
Thank you OCC. It’s been a blast!

Rony Alwin (2003-2006)

Email:   rony@ronysphotobooth.com

Mary Amor (2003-2005)

Email:   amor.mary@yahoo.com
Website:   https://ww.flickr.com/photos/maryamor

Carin Backoff (1997-2000)

Instagram:   @carinbackoffphoto

I currently live in New York City where I freelance in high fashion casting, as well as fashion photography. I’ve been living in New York for four years now, and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I so very much enjoyed my time at occ where I met so many incredible people, and learned so much. Some of whom, are still my closest friends today. JR miss you and love you more than you know. And Blade, you are the best! I owe ya one.

Michael Beringer (1974-1976)

Email  :   beringermd@gmail.com

I have very fond memories of my days as a photo major at OCC. The old community darkroom with all the various old Omega D enlargers and the large trays of chemicals. Instructors that I took classes with included John Sanford, Arthur Taussig, Ken Slosberg, John Upton, Tina Lent (photo history), Victor Landweber, and the late A. Michael Degtjarewsky. Mr. Degtjarewsky in my opinion was the best instructor I ever had from a commercial photography point of view. In the late fall of 1974 I remember going with 3 or 4 photo students to Hollywood to the studio of the late Edmund Teske for one of his photo-grab parties. I also remember going on a field trip to the old Larsen/Mitchel photolab and studio in Irvine. OCC provided me with a good foundation for what has become a life long passion with photography. After OCC I transferred to CSULB where I obtained my BA and later my MA in photography and film production. Today most everything in photography is digital, but I still manage to expose about 75 rolls of film a year. I have always loved working in the darkroom, and while I don't do it today as much as in the past I still enjoy watching the image emerge out of nothing under the red light. Thank you to all the great instructors at OCC.

Chauncey Bayes (1971-1974)

Email:   cbayes@occ.cccd.edu

Although I attended OCC many years ago, my time in the photo department shaped much of my future. Rick Steadry had a profound impact on me and I continue to learn from him even today. I am adjunct faculty in the department now and I am having the time of my life. The OCC School of Photography continues educate and inspire.

Amanda Bevington (2003-2005)

Tel:   714.791.3394 714.791.3394
Website:   amandabevington.wordpress.com/

Shelly Castellano (1993)

Email:   Shelly@ShellyCastellano.com
I miss the darkroom days at OCC !!! (I never thought I would say that, but its true). All of this computer stuff can be distracting! I graduated with Blade and some other really creative photographers in the early 90’s to move on to CSULB for photojournalism. I am currently still working freelance and contracted as a pro sports and special event photographer. My images over the years have been published in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, SI.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, The Sporting News, People Magazine, Golf World, The Hockey News and more. Stop by and say hello online anytime.

Alice Dison (2002-2003)

Email:   alicedison@mac.com
Website:   www.alicedison.com

Finished the year program, photojournalism/documentary, at International Center of Photography in New York, NY. 2006-2007

Natalie Embrey (2002-2007)

Email:   NEmbreyPhoto@gmail.com
Website:   www.NatalieEmbrey.com

After finishing every photo class OCC had to offer, I went to Art Center College of Design and graduated in 2012. Now I'm shooting, archiving, and retouching for various clients. Coast gave me an amazing foundation of technical skill that I have built on as I've continued my career.

Paul Fernandez (1990-1995)

Email:   paul@paulfernandezphoto.com

My experiences at the OCC School of Photography was transformative to say the least. I found my artistic photographic path there through the classes and the talented people that taught them. Millroy and McAleer taught me to see light. John Hesketh taught me how to use light in a way I never would have imagined. Go RGB! Along the way I have made some great friends. Thanks to everyone. Paul Fernandez

Karen French (1982-1983)

Email:   karen@karenfrenchphotography.com
Website:   www.karenfrenchphotography.com

Orange Coast College was a wonderful experience for me. It was there that I discovered my love of photography. Rick Steadry and John Upton were very influential to me. Rick taught me to be a perfectionist and John to appreciate the "art" of photography. After going through the photography program at OCC I assisted for commercial photographers for five years. This was a mix of fashion, product and illustration. While I was assisting commercial photographers I shot a few weddings and realized I really enjoyed that more than the commercial jobs. I then switched gears to weddings and have never turned back. I really enjoy this work and find it very creative. I'm also a collector of fine art photography, in part due to John Uptons influence I'm sure. My son now goes to OCC, so things have come full circle.

Harmony Gerber (2005-2009)

Email:   harmony@photo-grafitti.com
Website:   www.photo-grafitti.com

Some of the best moments in my life were had at OCC: School of Photography. Not only did I learn from some of the best instructors on the planet, but they are sweetest, most down-to-earth human beings I have ever met. I am currently contributing to five different music/art/culture publications, and I am Staff Photographer at an Entertainment Agency based in Los Angeles, CA. I must say, I would never be where I am today, without my OCC Photo team. Rick Steadry, Leslie McCall, Chauncey Bayes, Kathleen McLaughlin, Damian Tsutsumida, you all helped pave the way for me as a photographer, business woman, colleague & over-all human being, and for that you all have my heart! Thank you OCC Photo!

Blade Gillissen (1990-1993)

Email:   bgillissen@occ.cccd.edu  
Tel:   (714) 432-5844
Website:   www.orangecoastcollege.edu/photography
Chair of the School of Photography at Orange Coast College

Blade has taught classes in basic photography, view camera, lighting, product, advanced darkroom techniques, the zone system, and alternative processes since 1998. He has a special interest in historical processes and has worked extensively with gum bichromate printing, platinum printing, and pinhole photography. He also works as a consultant, technical writer, and editor, most notably as a technical consultant for Photography, the textbook by Barbara London and John Upton. Blade is also an avid collector of photographic prints and rare photographic books. Before becoming an educator, he owned and operated a commercial photography business that specialized in product, lifestyle, and portrait photography.

Luis Gonzalez (1992)

Email:   lglez@costarricense.cr

I'd like to show here ;)

Heather Glasby (2005-2008)

Email:   Heather@JaggerPhotography.com
Website:   www.jaggerphotography.com

Every single person that asks me for advice on pursuing a career in photography gets the same advice.. go through OCC’s photo program. I can honestly say going through OCC’s awesome program was the best and most helpful thing I ever did. I started there eager to learn everything I could and that’s what I did. I was awarded a scholarship, won "best in show" in the first student juried show and got the pleasure of working as a lab aid for 2 years. Every professor there is amazing and I learned so much from each of them. I’ve gone on to own a very successful, nation wide wedding photography business, still shooting my own stuff on the side when I have time. If I didn’t live in another state now, I would still be there in the dark room, I miss it and I’m so thankful I had the pleasure of finding OCC!

William Hare (1987-1989)

Website:   www.WillHarePhoto.com

After Coast, I graduated from Art Center, and am now shooting architecture out of Orange. Fall of 2007 I started teaching a photo class at OCC.

John Hesketh (1985-1989)

Email:   jhesketh@photomation.com

I started at the School of Photography at OCC in 1985 after I couldn’t get into an english class, since that color photography as fine art class with Sylvia Impert I haven’t left. I’ve been teaching at OCC since 1994, and I’m still an artist while working at the family photo lab in Anaheim.

Elizabeth Horan (1998-2000)

Email:   elizabethhoran@yahoo.comm

"The bend in the road is not the end of the road.... unless you fail to make the turn"

Josh Hoskins (1999-2002)

After graduating from SFAI in 2004, I now work full time as a Master Printer in the Bay Area. In my spare time I continue to do personal work.

Mike Jackson (1967)

Email:   une-Jackson7968@who-got-mail.com

Michelle James (2002-2004)

Email:   Mhavertj@gmail.com

After going back to school at OCC pursuing a field I have loved for most of my life, I went on to become the in house Photographer at Quiksilver and Roxy for the past 4 and a half years. I recently left there to pursue another long time dream of living and working in New York City. Photography has been an amazing ride.

Terry Johnson (1991-1993)

Email:   info@theforeveryoursstudio.com

Terry was a graguate of the photography program and currently has a photography business in Colorado in both commercial and portrait photography

Brittany Keene (2000-2002)

Website:   https://brittanykeene.squarespace.com/portfolio

Graduating from Art Center in Aug. Shooting for ABT, Jupiter Image, running my own business and loving life!!!

Mike Kennedy (1996-2000)

Email:   Batmanuel.mail@gmail.com

I am a DBA / Data Miner for UPS.

Mark Kirchner (1979-1982)

Website:   www.manzanarpilgrimage.com
Website 2:   www.silverworksstudio.com

After OCC I attended the San Francisco Art Institute (bfa 1985). Studies with Linda Connor, Larry Sultan, Reagan Louie and the late John Collier Jr. While at the art institute I studied visual anthropology with John Collier Jr. I embraced Collier’s methodology as a tool for insight and communication. That rigorous training has shaped both my work and life.

In 1999 I retrained as a hand bookbinder and started Silver Works Studio. The studio specializes in fine portfolios for clients worldwide.

Today I balance my time between teaching photography at Soka University of America, my studio practice and working on the Manzanar Pilgrimage Photography Project.

I am grateful to my OCC teachers. They include Rick Steadry, John Upton, John Sanford, Linda Troller, Susan Rankaitis, Lauri Martin and the late Michael Degtjarewsky. Thank you.

Dave Lauridsen (1997-1998)

Email:   dave@davelauridsen.com
Tel:   (714) 432-5874
Moved on to ArtCenter in Pasadena, been shooting since graduating in 2001.

Harriett Lewis Pallette (2011-2014)

Email:   harriet@hlpphotography.com
Website:   www.hlpphotography.com.com

After living life in the corporate world i 'retired' to follow my passion. OCC School of Photography became my path and has been the most amazing experience made possible by the very best teachers! Jonathan Fletcher, Agatha Ibranossian, Leslie McCall, Walter Urie, John Hesketh, Richard Kraft, Damian Tsutsumida, Torii Ott, Eve Luckring and Irini Rickerson! All ably led by Blade Gillissen. I never worked so hard with such gratification! Graduated with honors and am now working in fine art and shooting corporate portraits and events all over the world! Thank you The School of Photography, OCC!

Renere Lopez (2002-2007)

Email:   renere@aol.com
I’m just putting everything I learned from my classes into my work!

Miles Mahan (2002-2006)

Email:   milespeed@gmail.com

Changing gears after owning a specialty and general automotive shop and 'mid life crisis' I found OCC School of Photography to get passionate about life again... the likes of Walter Urie, Rick Steadry, Athur Taussig ,Chuck Sheahood, John Hesketh ,et al..... all passionate... all real deal humans and amazing artisans ... i've been blessed by their tutelage and friendship and oh... i work assisting throughout OC, LA and San Diego counties and shoot Architecture, Lifestyle, Weddings, Events, even Product.....and am even passionate again about the vehicle restorations and service i do getting through these economic times to all my friends and alumni from OCC .. hugs

Karlos Matthews (2001-2004)

Email:   karlos@karlosmatthews.com

Proud to be an OCC alumni....the staff, the classes, the experience are all wonderful.

Eric Alan Smith (1984-1986)

Email:   info@ericalansmithphotography.com
Website:   www.ericalansmithphotography.com

I learned so much from OCC. Film was a great thing! The digital realm is a whole different world...I miss that 8x10 camera and enlarger. Hi, Rick Steadry!

Amadine Nabarra-Piomelli

Email:   amandine@anpfotos.com
Website:   www.anpfotos.com

A fantastic group of talented and nurturing faculty members. I learned more than the basics in photography. I learned to follow my own voice and it says a lot about the teaching at OCC. Every experience was tough but valuable. I stayed on and on taking all the extra classes I could take as a way to stay connected and to grow until you had to kick me out:-) I am now a photographer and book artist and independent curator selling my work to private collectors and public institutions in the USA and Europe. I wouldn’t have made it without you all at OCC. It has been an incredible journey.

Torii Ott (1996-2000)

Email:   tott@cccd.edu
Tel:   (714) 432-5874
: www.orangecoastcollege.edu/photography

Lab Coordinator/Adjunct Faculty at Orange Coast College

Torii first started as a student in the Photo Department 1996. He worked as a commercial Photographer until 2005 when he returned to the Photography Department as an Instructional Associate.​ In his current role as the Lab Coordinator, he oversees the daily operations of the Photo Department and also teaches Basic Photo Labs in the evenings.

Patrick Patton (2005-2010)

Email:   patpatton86@gmail.com
Website:   www.patrickpattonphoto.com

I have just recently left OCC  to go to Art Center and if it was not for The School of Photography, there is no way I could survive there. I learned everything about photography I possibly could from some of the best teachers I have ever had. I also worked in the lab while i was there and they was a very rewarding experience for me. I will never forget my time at OCC Photo or the people I met while I was there.

Cody Pickens (1999-2003)

Email:   cp@codypickens.com
Website:   www.codypickens.com
Website 2:   www.cobaimages.com
Rangefinder Feature

Orange Coast School of Photography is amazing! OCC provides a state of the art facility and really good instructors that actually care about what they’re doing. I learned technical skills, conceptual understanding and the history of photography. I met great people and made some lasting friendships. All it took was one class in photography at OCC... after that, I knew I was going to be a photographer for the rest of my life.

Mike Radford (2010)

Email:   mikeradfordphoto@gmail.com

So glad I was able to do the OCC photography program! I honestly use everything I learned every time I shoot.

William Rhodes (1986-1989)

Email:   wrhodes99@gmail.com

Sarah Riley (2001-2004)

Website:   www.skriley.com

James Ridley (2004-2010)

Email:   jamesaridley@yahoo.com
Website:   www.jamesaridley.com

I had a great time at OCC and it truly helped to give me a direction and purpose that my life had previously lacked. Following OCC, I moved to New York City where I am pursuing commercial photography. In my spare time I photograph documentary and portraiture based projects. With out this program, I never would be where I am at today. I owe everything to OCC Photo.

Jennifer Rocholl (1997-2000)

Website:   www.jenniferrocholl.com

Courtney Sabbagh (2004-2007)

Website:   www.courtneysabbaghphotography.com

Melinda Sargent (2007)

I finished my physics and math course work at OCC in 1987. I graduated from UC Irvine in 1989 with a degree in physics. I worked for Dr. Roland for about 3 years in atmospheric chemistry and then worked in environmental and computers. I like photography much better. :)

Cindy Schafer (1995-1999)

Website:   http://lenscratch.com/2012/12/cindy-schafer-in-memorium/

Born in Canada. Raised on a farm. Mum had a subscription to Life magazine and a Pentax. Dad had a 35mm Konica. Got a BA in German and Environmental Studies on the west coast. Supported an intense travel habit by working at a heli-ski resort, a kids camp in the swiss alps and guiding bicycle trips in the Rockies, Napa Valley, Europe & on remote Canadian islands. Photo School in California. More travel. And now, Cindy pursues her art shooting documentary stories about social change, the environment, people & cultures around the world. The great social reform photographers Walker Evans, Dorthea Lange, Lewis Hine and W. Eugene Smith inspire Cindy. She also loves the contemporary work of Robert Frank, Martin Paar, Lauren Greenfield, Jeff Wall, Steve McCurry, & Annu Matthew.

Deidre Schoo (2004-2006)

Email:   deidreschoo@gmail.com
Website:   www.deidreschoo.com

Having spent several years contemplating the technique and art of photography at Orange Coast College - Deidre studied at the International Center of Photography in New York. She currently lives in Brooklyn and travels frequently to Southern California. Her work has been recognized by various organizations and publications, including Photo District News and ASMP. She follows the commandment of James Joyce, and in her work "the mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing."

Noah Spindler (2004-2009)

Email:   noahspindler@ucla.edu

Through Orange Coast College School of Photography I received a strong technical foundation in photography, tempered with a criticality in the context of photography as an art practice. Since graduating from OCC Photo, I’ve been studying art at UCLA. I was accepted on a primarily photographically based portfolio, which was developed entirely during my studies at OCC, under Eve Luckring, Richard Kraft, Rick Steadry. I view my time spent at Orange Coast College School of Photography as being a central first step or starting point in a perceivably endless study of the arts.

Dan Stensland (1997-2000)

Email:   daninlbc@cox.net

What?! Was it that long ago??? I can’t remember, but if these really are the years that Torii, Damian and Danny were there then I guess I was too...

Joanna Miriam Tichauer (2005-2008)

Email:   jojo@jojofoto.com
Website:   www.www.jojofoto.com

I currently digital tech and assist for Art Brewer, Nels Israelson and Adam Campbell. I have two websites of my own: www.jojofoto.com and www.joannamiriam.com. I also hold the senior photographer position at Skinnie Magazine.

Jeffrey Thayer (2003-2007)

Email:   jeff@jeffreythayer.com
Website:   www.jeffreythayer.com

Jonathan Thomas (1984)

Email:   jonathan@imageprotect.com
Website:   www.imageprotect.com/.com

My photography career began at OCC in 1984. I went on to graduate from Brook's Institute. I've worked as a commercial and architectural photographer. I developed a rights tracking software called ImageProtect. ImageProtect is a web application that monitors the global internet to seek out illegally used visual content. Then through partnerships with law firms, we collect settlement fees from infringers on behalf of the copyright owners.

Damian Tsutsumida (1997-2000)

Email dtsutsumida@occ.cccd.edu

I currently shoot architectural photography in Southern California. In addition, I teach part time at the School of Photography, as well as help Torii and Blade keep the peace in the department!

Bob Walden (1977-1979)

Website:   Bob Walden: Negligence Photography Gallery
Website:   Bob Walden: Negligence Photography Blog

I was in my late twenties when I enrolled in the Orange Coast College Photography program. My instructors included Arthur Taussig, Rick Steadry, John Upton, Alan Sekula. Because I was eager to complete the program quickly, I was given special permission to double up and take Commercial Photography and Color Photography at the same time - a real challenge. Very few who started the program finished - it required lots of time on campus and in the lab, but it was well worth it! I returned to NYC and for a while did the photo assistant route which was not to my liking, and I got into the computer programming field for a while. Then, at age 38, with the arrival of our first child and purchase of a home, I took a risky plunge and decided to quit computers and started a niche photography business - legal photography. Taking photographs as documentary evidence for lawyers, mostly civil cases - personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability, etc. Nearing the end of the road now, been doing it for 20 years. The work has been interesting, exciting, challenging and rewarding. My heartfelt thanks to my instructors and to OCC for equipping me to take "the road less traveled."

Brent Washa (1987-1990)

Email: brentwasha@yahoo.com

Fine program and affordable tuition.

Christopher Wormald (2005-2009)

Website: http://wophoto.space/

Mihoko Yamagata (1970-1973)

Email:   mmycws@cox.net
Website:   https://mihokoyamagata.com/index.php

The education I received at OCC Photo Department prepared me to go on to Art Center College of Design. I transferred to California State University, Fullerton to study under Darryl Curran due to a change in my interests from commercial work to fine art, and received my MA in 1978.

In 1980 my photographic works were selected for Nagase Photo Salon’s inaugural exhibition in Tokyo.

Starting in 1982 I worked as a coordinator of exhibitions introducing contemporary American photographers’ works to a photo gallery in Tokyo. It was an exciting time to work with a visionary gallery director when the concept of original photographic prints was beginning to be recognized in Japan. I have also worked as a photographic researcher and translator for a museum in Japan.

My main focus since graduation has been to produce photographic works. Photographing while traveling is a great joy. Since 2006 I have been back at OCC studying digital photography.

OCC provided me a great foundation as well as friends and contacts. I express my gratitude to the teachers who were most helpful and patient during a time when my English skills were limited.

NEA Visual Artist Fellowship 1982

Selected Exhibitions & Collections: Nagase Photo Salon (Tokyo), BC Space (CA), Center for Creative Photography (AZ), The Photographers’ Gallery (London), University of Southern California (CA), Hampshire College (MA)


Danny Zapalac (1997-2000)

Email:   hello@dannyzapalac.com

Destiny allowed photography to become a part of my path. Through it, I have found my future wife, invested in real estate and opened my eyes to the exquisiteness of this earth. Isn’t photography breathtaking