Rebecca Reuland

Digital Photography

The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg

Rebecca Reuland

As artists and professionals, we need to understand how to give and take constructive criticism. Rebecca Reuland , Faculty , The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

The first time someone bought one of my photographs in a juried show while I was in high school I knew I must be onto something. The first time I lectured in grad school I felt at ease and knew I needed to teach.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

I teach my students to be both rigid and flexible. In the professional realm you need to be rigid with deadlines and contracts, yet you need to be flexible enough to realize when an idea is not working and to be able to adapt.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

As much as possible I incorporate the “shoot and show” format into my classes. The students should be constantly photographing and then showing their work for critiques. As artists and professionals, we need to understand how to give and take constructive criticism. There is always something we can do better the next time. 

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration is key for photographers, as you rarely work on your own. You need to be able to communicate your ideas, as well as take direction from others. Photographers are in a great position, because people always need your services to showcase their work—whether it be an architect, interior designer, manufacturer, or a fashion designer. In turn, your portfolio becomes stronger and more diverse. I always see student’s portfolios grow immensely once they start collaborating with other [students].

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

Work hard, network and always take photographs. It is a competitive world out there and you need to show people your strengths. You need to be able to sell your skills and your artistic style ALL OF THE TIME. If you aren’t continually making new work and showing it to people, you will be quickly overlooked. 

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