I haven't shown them much work, so it hasn't occurred to them to copy anything- they are just working.
So here's a typical story: The Chair Assignment. I've given this every semester I ever taught- probably GOT given this assignment by John Beck at Sam Houston State back nearly 40 years ago. (I'll ask Doc. Sneed. He'll remember.) The assignment is: Notice and photograph a chair. I lecture and give the assignment to them while they stand around in class....I've put all the chairs out in the hall. I talk about the life of a chair, how civilization was built on chairs, chairs I've known, et, et.
Then they start looking at chairs and making photographs.
One of the students, a delightful, sensible, grown woman, never misses a class and is sitting on the front row taking notes. Family, job, home, kids, she's a normal person in all outward aspects. Driving home she spots a busted plastic walmart chair in a pile of junk on the curb. She sends her husband back for this ruined useless chair. Like the good husband he is, he gets it. She takes her son into the back yard and has him THROW the chair into the air, over and over, while she photographs it. In the sky.
A chair. In the sky. Yes.
As I say, I have made a few chair photographs, loved chairs, noticed chairs, thought about chairs but it hasn't occured to me in 40 years of exhibitions to ever THROW a chair up against the sky and photograph it. Nor have I ever seen any other student do it.
This makes the whole semester- and it's been a very fun and invigorating semester, worth the time and effort. I've been wedging, photo-fuing and mental-judoing these folks like mad to get them to open up just a LITTLE bit visually. When I saw that chair on the contact sheet...soaring against the sky, I knew I was doing the job I was hired to do and that these were real students.