Executive Director, School of Photography
Jim Wood has been teaching for more than 35 years, while simultaneously running one of the west coast’s largest commercial studios. His client list tops 1000, among them: Life magazine, American Motors, Honda, IBM, Apple, Yamaha, Gallo, Levi’s, Marlboro, Wells Fargo, Polaroid, Kodak, Nikon, Kraft and Toyota. Mr. Wood has the honor of being named one of the 65 best photographers in the world by Canon U.S.A.
Vice President, Online Education; Online Director, School of Photography
Ryan Baldwin has been a professional photographer for more than 20 years and manages his own stock photo library. His fine prints have been showcased at numerous gallery shows and his work has been published in magazines, books and national advertising campaigns. He is especially interested in using photography as a tool for environmental awareness and cultural preservation. He has taught photography at the Academy since 2001 and helped develop the digital imaging curriculum before transitioning to his role as Director of Online Photography.
Full-Time Faculty, School of Photography
Alyson received her BA in Humanities from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Photography from San Francisco State University. She investigates the relationships between movement, stillness, and time by photographing her subjects with pinhole and other low-tech cameras. She is represented by the Robert Tat Gallery in San Francisco and Gallerie Citi in Burlingame and has exhibited in galleries from New York to Taiwan. Recent publications include Poetics of Light: Contemporary Pinhole Photography.
Erik Butler has over twenty-three years of photographic experience as the owner of a successful San Francisco based commercial photography studio. Whether shooting large format in the studio or environmental portraiture on location, Butler is known for his dynamic, elegant lighting style and use of saturated color to produce dramatic imagery.
Associate Director of Online Photography
James Goins is a fine art photographer based in San Anselmo, California. He holds a BFA in photography from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis and specializes in mixed media and alternative processes. His photographs and paintings have been exhibited throughout the Midwest and the West coast. James is a member of the Society for Photographic Education and the College Arts Association.
Online Associate Director, School of Photography
Tamara Hubbard is a fine art photographer based in northern California. She has an MFA degree in Photography from Academy of Art University. Her photography work has been exhibited throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. Her passion for the photographic medium has been her primary involvement in the visual arts for the past 10 years. Tamara is a dedicated member of the photographic community and is involved in the Society for Photographic Education, the College Art Association and the Humboldt Arts Council.
Curriculum Coordinator, School of Photography
Connie Begg is a fine art photographer and curator specializing in alternative photographic processes. She received a MFA degree from Mills College and maintains an art studio and darkroom in San Francisco. Her photographs are in many private collections and have been exhibited internationally. She is the founder of Photo Alchemy and a grant recipient of the California Arts Council. She is also a member of FotoForum and has served on the boards of the Society for Photographic Education and the Artspan Artist Advisory Council.
Kent has 26 years experience as a professional photographer with studios in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Kent has been a respected teacher at Academy of Art University since 2001. Kent earned a BFA in Photography at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He earned a BFA in Art and Education at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Kent has exhibited his work in galleries including the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco and the American Photographers Show in Tokyo Japan. Kent has designed, written and taught online lighting classes, and specializes in lighting for commercial and fine art applications, both in the studio and on location.
Katty Ryan Hoover was born in Corbin, Kentucky. She received her BA in the College Scholars program at University of Tennessee and her MFA in photography at San Francisco Art Institute. She has also studied at University of Notre Dame and Semester at Sea through the University of Virginia. Her work is aimed at people: narratives of isolation, loneliness, and social tension, and the body as a site of psychological negotiation. Her work has been shown at Tampa Museum of Art, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, James Madison University, and Michael Rosenthal Contemporary Art in San Francisco. Hoover currently lives and works in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Adrienne Pao is a photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. She is currently investigating two photographically based projects. Hawaiian family portraits and dress tents. Both projects investigate notions of tourism in real and simulated fantasy landscapes, and involve a combination of performative and staged scenarios.
Her work is featured in fashion and pop culture magazines, as well as art journals around the world. Adrienne has shown her work nationally and internationally from the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco, California to Recoleta Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Caixa Cultural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Adrienne received her MFA in Photography from San Jose State University in 2005 and has been committed to photographic education for the past six years. Her work can be viewed at www.adriennepao.com.
Shannon has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from American University and an MFA in Photography from Academy of Art University. He began his career 10 years ago as a photojournalist freelancing for numerous publications, including Wild Bird Magazine, Blue Ridge Country magazine, Chesapeake Life and Richmond-Times Dispatch. He works in the documentary tradition of Eugene Atget and Walker Evans.
Kimberly Mowbray is a fine art photographer based in Santa Rosa, California. She has an MFA degree in Photography from Academy of Art University. Kimberly works primarily in alternative processes. Through her photographs she explores the understanding of self and how that interacts with a given environment. By using the photographic medium she is able to show the beauty and serenity in various locations and pair that with her own figure reacting and responding to the stillness of the landscape. Kimberly is an active member in Society for Photographic Education and exhibits her work nationally.
Marico Fayre is a fine art photographer, specializing in environmental portraits and conceptual storytelling. She holds a BFA in Photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and an MFA from Academy of Art University. Marico is a full-time faculty member and curriculum coordinator for the Academy’s Online Photography department, and she also puts her photographic and marketing skills to work for a variety of non-profit organizations and publications internationally. Marico is passionate about engaging viewers in the shared dialogue that exists between artist, audience, and artwork. For over 15 years she has combined reality and personal narrative in portraits and self-portraits, examining ideas of transformation, identity, and the meaning of home. Her work incorporates mythology and archetype into an intimate examination of memory, place, and personal metaphor. Marico’s work can be found in publications, galleries, and private collections nationwide.
Sarah Barsness received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and attended the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, where she later taught for many years. Her photographs, installations and mixed media pieces – which incorporate photography, printmaking, fabric, and other media – have been exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S. and in Japan and Mexico. She was recently an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and is also a former Artist in Residence at Recology – the San Francisco "dump."
Michael Sims is a photographer and educator living and working in San Francisco. He has been teaching in the Bay Area for the past 10 years and in 2011 joined the Academy of Art as a full-time faculty member.
Michael earned a BFA from Indiana University, with a major in photography and a minor in Art History. He earned his MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Michael’s photographic practice utilizes the medium’s cutting-edge technology but also engages its historic traditions. He is interested in blurring the line between the contemporary and the antique. His work explores cultural concepts of beauty while also tracing the roots of ancient ritual alive within contemporary society. Michael’s photographic expertise ranges from medium and large format digital photography and printing to hand-brushed platinum printing and hand made bookbinding.
Photography Department Manager, Online School of Photography
Amberlyn Nelson is a photographer and multi-media artist living in San Francisco, CA. She holds two Bachelors of Fine Arts degrees from the University of California, Santa Cruz, one in Creative Writing and the other in Photography. Presently she is pursuing her Masters in Art Education at Academy of Art University. She joined Academy of Art in 1996 supporting different academic departments and has been working in the Photography department since 2006. In 2011, Amberlyn took on the role as Photo Department Manager assisting with online and on-campus education.
Student Advising Manager, Online School of Photography
Ana Cesmat is an Academic Advisor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a BS in Kinesiology from Belmont University and an MA in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco. She has enjoyed guiding college students to success in a number of different settings including coaching, athletic training, and academic advisement. Ana began working for Academy of Art University in 2007 as an Online Advisor. Her focus is assisting online students in identifying, pursuing and ultimately reaching their educational goals. She currently holds the position of Student Advising Manager for Online Photography.