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A Community College building with lots of Bang

Posted on: Apr 03, 2010

Digital 101: Cool on the Outside, Warm on the Inside

I am a big fan of California’s community college system. It does a lot with very little. There are over 100 colleges scattered throughout the state with close to 3 million enrolled students. They are both technical schools and feeder schools to the university system. They also provide continuing education to adults well into their senior years. They are a state treasure we should nurture, support and preserve.

When HGA Architects and Engineers of Sacramento asked me to photograph their Performing Arts Addition at American River College, I was pleased. After a preliminary scouting trip, we decided that shooting the facility filled with students made more sense than shooting empty classrooms. It is a simple yet powerful building housing an extremely robust music and theater program at California’s second largest community college. The classrooms and performance spaces are used day and night. Finding a classroom full of aspiring musicians was not hard. Lighting them so that we could stop action and get accurate color was another issue. Careful coordination with faculty and administration and a heavy dose of strobe lighting gave us spectacular results.

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