University of La Verne graduate Liz Lucsko, recently earned a Masters in photography from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York. Lucsko currently teaches Elementary Photography as a part-time faculty member. Her photography exhibit, “Banning – Stagecoach Town USA,” is on display in the Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography, and closes today. Lucsko’s interest in portrait photography has helped her personalize the photographic act for her students.
Liz Lucsko stands beside a student explaining how to improve the contrast in a print. Many people might mistake Lucsko, 24, for a student because of her youthful demeanor, but she has not been a University of La Verne student since 2003 when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.
Lucsko is a part-time instructor of photography, teaching elementary photography and advising students in independent study.
She’s also the current photographer being showcased at the Irene Carlson Gallery.
Lucsko began instructing Photo 210 labs at ULV in the fall of 2005. When Gary Colby, chair of the photography department, set his sabbatical for January interterm and spring semester of 2006, he needed someone to cover his teaching duties for the Photo 210 class.
Lucsko was among Colby’s top choices to serve as adjunct instructor.
“That was just great; it was like ‘thank you Lord,’” Colby said, referring to Lucsko’s availability and desire to teach the course.
Colby chose Lucsko for her technical prowess and success as a photographer.
“She’s bringing brand new character to the course; she has time to photograph. That’s great,” Colby said. “We need more staff like that. She knows the technical aspects.”
Lucsko’s interest in photography helps her relate the art to her students, and it lets her bring fresh ideas to the course.
“She’s continuing her interest in photography, she’s working, she’s spending time in the darkroom,” said Kevin Holland, photography lab manager. “It opens up your creative juices. It makes me want to make time to get out and photograph.
“She enjoys her students and teaching,” he added. “You can tell from their reactions.”
“I love that she’s young, vivacious, upbeat and into photography,” said Janice Sullivan, a senior art major with a concentration in photography. “I really like how she loves what she does.”
Sullivan, one of three independent study students being instructed by Lucsko, said that Lucsko wants to help them get where they want to be.
“She said, ‘I want to work with you guys to help you with your portfolios,’” Sullivan said. “She lets us use her stuff. I really felt honored to have her teaching this course.”
In addition to teaching the elementary photography course and the independent study, Lucsko finds time to do personal photography and freelance for the San Bernardino Sun.
“Sometimes I get frustrated that I have to balance the time between personal photography and teaching,” Lucsko said. “There’s more to teaching than I thought. So much time goes into preparation.”
Despite having to balance her time, Lucsko still finds the photographic act fresh and exciting.
“When I was here in Gary’s Photo 210 class, I couldn’t wait to see how the negatives turned out,” Lucsko said. “I’m still the same way today.”
It is obvious that Lucsko’s love for photography has not diminished. Her?exhibition, “Banning – Stagecoach Town USA,” is on display in the Irene Carlson Gallery.
The exhibition showcases Lucsko’s love of portrait photography and clearly displays her skill with the camera.
“Even though I’ve tried every other genre, I always come back to portraits,” Lucsko said.
Lucsko’s skill and love for photography will only increase with time.
“She’ll just further define herself in the profession,” Holland said.
Lucsko said she is going to take what she has learned at the University and apply it in the future.
Her experience as an instructor has also reinforced her appreciation and understanding of the photographic act.
“She’s on the right track,” Colby said. “She’s a success because her parents were always 100 percent behind her.
“They invested in her,” he added. “And whenever I offered her an opportunity, she took it. She’s smart, technically proficient and athletic in mind and body.”
As a recent graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication in Syracuse, N.Y., Lucsko has many connections in the industry and should have no trouble finding a career that suits her.
“I hope I’m a photographer, and I make it, and it’s my career,” Lucsko said.
“I’m still young, and I still have a lot more to accomplish,” she added.
She is planning to have a full time industry job in New York, London or Los Angeles after she finishes the semester at La Verne.
“It’s too early in my career to look at teaching full-time,” Lucsko said. “I feel like I need time in the industry to come back and be able to teach.”
According to her students and colleagues, Lucsko already made it.
“She was born to do this,” Sullivan said. “There’s no doubt she’s made it as a photographer.”
Eric Iberri can be reached at email@example.com.