The James Bond GirlSunday, May 10, 2009
I have not always succeeded in maintaining a distance with my students but I try very hard. At a couple of schools where I teach photography I tell my students that if they want to communicate with me they can forward me e-mails through the school administrator. Only last week a female student asked me if she could address me as “Sir Alex”.
In years past phone numbers were either more difficult to get or easier. Most people were in the phone book unless the number was unlisted. Now, with many having cellular phones, that phone number is hard to get. But if one has a web page (and I have one) my students can find either my phone or a method of e-mail communication called contact submission.
I would further define our age of instant communication as an age of quick intimacy. I blog and in it I write personal stuff. Students call me Alex instead of Mr. Hayward. For years in Mexico I addressed my students as Mr. or Miss. This idea is pretty well gone unless you are in a Canadian Armed forces boot camp.
So I had to give it much thought when a part-time student (over 20) waited until the last class to ask me if I would photograph her. I run photography as a business and I cannot reject work simply because I might have an over-sensitive concept of what a teacher student relationship should be. Technically when she came to my studio she was no longer my student.
My James Bond girl was a European woman. She sat in the front row of my photography class and I don’t think she ever wore the same pair of exquisite shoes twice. In my mind she was a James Bond girl. She looked like a James Bond girl, she dressed to kill and seemed to live a jet-set life (I define here jet set in the old term when flying was exciting and sexy). To top it all she was a good photographer.