Nicole HA Jacobs-Licht
Photographic Imaging Instructor
The Art Institute of Atlanta
Throughout my career I have embraced digital technology... It was ride the wave, or be left behind. It still is. Nicole HA Jacobs-Licht , Photographic Imaging Instructor , The Art Institute of Atlanta
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Art has always been a part of my life. I grew up going to museums around the world, attending painting classes, learning photography, you name it. I loved art but when I started college I wanted to study Veterinarian Science. However, in my first semester, I took a drawing class with my roommate and I was hooked. I was going to study Art, and the rest is history.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My background is in film: analog film and silver gelatin papers. But throughout my career I have embraced digital technology. It wasn’t a choice. It was ride the wave, or be left behind. It still is. This is the most important aspect for me to convey in the classroom. I teach students current technology, as well as how to keep up with the changes.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I have students gather images that I call their Idea Book. This book is an incredible reference for them, to help them hold onto images that they encounter throughout their studies. They are to find images that relate to assignments, that are by photographers and artists we discuss and ones that inspire them. Each students’ Idea Book is unique, as it is their personal taste and direction. I like them to collect about 10 a week. By the end of each quarter, they have 100 images. I then encourage them to make this a habit, so that they are always looking for inspiration and references.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
When students work together across disciplines, they get a better understanding of how they will need to communicate in the industry, outside of school. My Photographic Imaging students work with Culinary, Fashion, Graphic Design and Advertising students in several of their classes, as well as at events throughout their college career.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
The most important thing that I try to convey to my students besides being a great photographer, archivist and scholar of photography is professionalism. It’s very important to be punctual, have your work completed and turned in on-time, act professionally and speak of photography on a professional level. You can be a great photographer, but if you aren’t accountable, you will not get very far. I refer to myself as the client often, and tell the students each assignment is a job.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Once on a field trip to an Atlanta high-end gallery, one of the gallerists spoke to my class. She said some artists who are less famous have work on the walls more often, because they are wonderful to work with. It’s true for anyone that wants to be successful in any field. Be wonderful to work with.