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Getty Museum Project Pairs Students with their Mentors
Los Angeles Times

The four photographers toured the exhibit, "Where We Live: Photographs of America From the Berman Collection," with the students Friday and crisscrossed the county Saturday. On Sunday, the entire group met at the museum.

Students were advised to learn from the experts' work and their ideas about how to create photos of their surroundings.

The project pulled together students from many corners of Los Angeles with different backgrounds and styles.

Two years after arriving in Los Angeles from Japan, Kurada still has to stop to think when someone asks her where she lives. She first settled in Northridge. She now lives in Echo Park, near downtown, but commutes to Valley College in Valley Glen to study photography.

As students look for scenes to photograph, art collector Stephen White sits on a wooden bench along Lankershim Boulevard, eating a husk-wrapped tamale bought from a sidewalk vendor.

This is his neighborhood, he says, and he takes delight in watching the 10 students prowl.

It was White's idea to pair photographers with the community college students, who he said are already producing excellent work. He opened one of the first photo galleries in Los Angeles and was a founding member of the Getty's Photographs Council.

Tom Anthony, 47, of Newhall, a photography student at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, traveled with Halverson and other students to a nearby home construction site.

Anthony said that he had only recently switched from black-and-white photography to color. He was intrigued, he said, by Halverson's "use of color and how she focuses on color in her images."

So he photographed such things as a yellow tape and orange sandbags seen against the brown earthen background. "They're very artificial colors in a landscape," he said.

Peter Tokofsky, a Getty education manager, said that community colleges are playing a larger role in "training the next generation of photographers."

The museum's Photographs Council will pay to frame 40 of the best pictures taken by the students this weekend. The museum will arrange a traveling exhibit of the photos starting in February at Valley College and resuming in the fall of 2007 at the other three schools: College of the Canyons, East Los Angeles College and Santa Monica College.

The weekend culminated with a Sunday symposium in which the four photographers showed their work and described their techniques.

Christenberry advised the students to find an art form suiting their passion. "Make every attempt to find something you love -- that you're truly in love with -- and push it, push it as hard as you can."