Get to Know Us

Get to know our world-class staff and see why we’re one of the top arts universities in the country.
Want to get in touch with us? Visit the Directories.

James Wood

Executive Director 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.

William Mosgrove

Director of MFA Photography

Will Mosgrove has been involved in the photographic community for over thirty years. He is an alumnus of the Academy of Art University as well as a long-time instructor in the School of Photography. Throughout his career he has maintained a strong tie to the school. In 2007, he was awarded the Academy of Art University's "Alumnus of Distinction" award. Mr. Mosgrove has run and maintained his own successful photography business for the past twenty-eight years and has won numerous national awards for his work. He has also volunteered his time with the Advertising Photographers of America (APA) where he held the office of National President for three terms. In 2008, Mosgrove was awarded APA's 25th anniversary leadership award and in 2009 he received the prestigious International Photographic Council's Photographic Leadership Award, which was presented at the United Nations.

Ryan Baldwin

Online Director of Photography

Ryan Baldwin is a photographer based in central Oregon. His photography has been published in magazines, books, national advertising campaigns and much more. He manages his own stock photo library and his fine prints are available in annual shows and gallery representations. Ryan continues to seek out new projects and is especially interested in using his photography as a tool for environmental awareness and cultural preservation. In 2001, Ryan began teaching photography classes at the Academy of Art University where he was responsible for the digital imaging curriculum. In 2007, he shifted his focus to the online program and is currently the Director of Online Photography.

Alyson Belcher

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

Alyson Belcher investigates the relationships between movement, stillness, and time by photographing her subjects with pinhole and other low-tech cameras. Alyson's work has been exhibited in galleries from New York to Taiwan. Recent publications include Poetics of Light: Contemporary Pinhole Photography. She received her B.A. From the University of California, Berkeley and her M.F.A. from San Francisco State University. Alyson is represented by the Robert Tat Gallery in San Francisco, and Gallerie Citi in Burlingame, CA. She is Full Time Faculty (Online) in the School of Photography at Academy of Art University.

Erik Butler

Full-Time Instructor

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.

James Goins

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.

Tamara Hubbard

Associate Director, Online Graduate Photography

Tamara Hubbard is a fine art photographer based in northern California. She has an MFA degree in Photography from the 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.

Connie Begg

Associate Graduate Director of Photography

Connie Begg is a fine art photographer specializing in alternative photographic processes. She received a Masters degree in Fine Art from Mills College in Oakland, CA and maintains an art studio and darkroom in the Bayview district of San Francisco. Her photographs can be found in many private collections and have been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.

Kent Marshall

Full-Time Instructor

Kent has 26 years experience as a professional photographer with studios in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He received his BFA in Art with distinction at the University of the Pacific and a BFA in Photography at the Art Center College of Design. Kent has been teaching at the Academy for 9 years and continues to maintain his San Francisco Photography Studio. Kent specializes in lighting for commercial and fine art applications both in the studio and on location.

Katty Ryan Hoover

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

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

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

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 Ayres

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

Shannon Ayres is a photographer based in the Washington, D.C. region. He has an MFA degree in Photography from Academy of Art University. Shannon began his career ten years ago as a photojournalist freelancing for numerous magazines on the east coast.  Today, he works in the lyrical documentary tradition of Eugene Atget and Walker Evans. He is currently working on two projects: a series of street photography at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and a longer multi-year series about vernacular culture and the American Civil War.

Shannon has contributed to the content development of PH612 The Nature of Photography, PH613: Color and Light, GS625 The History of Photography, PH655 Digital Montage and PH801 Graduate Thesis Seminar.

Kimberly Mowbray

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

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

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

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 the 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.

Joe Lavine

Full-Time Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator, Online School of Photography

Joe Lavine is an award winning commercial photographer, educator, and author living in Golden, Colorado. For more than two decades he has specialized in food and beverage photography. Joe's clients include General Mills, McDonalds, Quiznos, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Coors, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Wells Fargo Bank, Duracell, and Coleman Foods. As a college educator for fifteen years, he has taught numerous subjects to a wide range of students. Education has always been important to him; he holds an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, and a master’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. Joe has authored multiple courses for online education, been a contributing author for books, and magazine articles, and has recently put the finishing touches on his latest book, Light Right.

Sarah Barsness

Full-Time Faculty and Curriculum Coordinator

Sarah Barsness was born and raised in the American West. Her photographs, installations and mixed media pieces – which incorporate photography, printmaking, fabric, and other media – have been exhibited in galleries in the Bay Area, throughout the USA, and in Japan and Mexico. Her photographs have been featured in various newspapers and brochures. 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". She is an alum of the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle – where she also taught for many years – and received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Michael Sims

Full-Time Faculty and Curriculum Coordinator

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.

Amberlyn Nelson

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 Santa Cruz, one in Creative Writing and the other in Photography. Presently she is pursuing an Masters in Art Education at the Academy of Art University. Amberlyn enjoys taking pictures with plastic and vintage cameras using her hand-made negative carriers. She loves experimenting with historic and traditional photographic processes focusing on the obscure and forgotten. She joined the Academy of Art University in 1996 supporting different academic departments and has been working in the Photography department since 2006. Currently Amberlyn is the Photo Department Manager.

Ana Cesmat

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 the 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.

Kelsey Krow

Student Advising Manager, Online School of Photography

Kelsey Krow was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She received her Bachelors in Communications from the University of Iowa. Shortly after college she found herself in the Student Services industry and has never looked back. She has held positions such as Director of Student Services and Education Coordinator and has loved learning the ins and outs of Education and what it takes to be successful. She began working for the Academy of Art University in 2011. She is the point of contact for all of her Graduate Photography students after their first semester and will help guide them through the program until graduation.