I went here first around five, six years ago and was met by the founder and director at the time and he was extremely rude to me. He knew me and my work and purposely went out of his way to try humiliate me. I have been around the block a few times, I wasn't going to intimidated. Then I heard he was terminated. I decided to give the place another chance. Since then I have been back numerous times, from openings to benefits. I was soon asked to be an instructor there and have been since. I find CPC to be a wonderful and supportive community of people who care about the world of photography. They are a committed bunch and I will always be part of this community.
The Chicago Photography Center has been EVICTED from its space on Lincoln Avenue. They
owe tens of thousands of dollars in back rent and real estate taxes they are responsible for.
After ten wonderful years at the Lincoln Avenue location, the Chicago Photography Center is moving. CPC will continue to offer the best photography classes in the area taught by professional photographers; offer first class exhibits by students, as well as internationally recognized photographers; provide a monthly peer critique; offer lecture series; and continue its Outreach Program to under-served communities. Check out the long list of positive and truthful reviews on this site.
I have long had a passion for photography, having taken classes and taught in college and having been a member of several photographic organizations over the years. Going to galleries and seeing photographic displays is important to me, but sharing my work and ideas with other photographers as well as having discussions about the medium and its history gives me special pleasure. This is exactly what I found at the Chicago Photography Center, peers with knowledge about the medium and its history who are willing to discuss work in critiques and further to discuss the principles and skills that are beneficial to that work. The Center offers facilities in which to create your own images, from darkrooms, to computers and printers, to lighting studios. It offers classes in which to further one’s understanding of photography. It has a gallery space to show the work of members and other artists. It is not a one-dimensional organization, but a place that allows photographers to pursue the knowledge required to grow from beginners to sophisticated professionals with an artist perception of the discipline. A center like this is essential to a thriving and sophisticated photographic community in a city such as Chicago.
The Board of the cpc has defaulted on their obligation to the investors of the building they occupy. This group of people (the investors) came together for the sole prepose of providing a home for cpc. Because of their default, 27 people are about to louse their $350.000 investment. I believe in the past 5 years there is no person that started classes at cpc that have acquired the skills necessary to be able exhibit in a show. cpc says they are a school but they have not had a student show (of their own students) since I left as program director 6 years ago. Their gallery only exhibits the work established photographers. They use the gallery as a draw for their classes with the implication that after someone attends their classes they will learn enough to also be part of a show. Maybe, but because cpc does not have "student shows" it's not likely that they will be able to exhibit there. I started teaching photography in 1969 when I with others started the Jane Addams Center/ Hull House Photography Program (JAC/HH). cpc clams they are the same program that started at JAC/HH in 1969. They are not. The JAC/HH photography program only exhibited the work of their students.
Chicago Photography Center teaches excellent classes in a wide variety of photographic subjects and has a gallery that shows both local and international artists, for the enrichment of its students and the public. Many students choose to take the entire curriculum in the certificate program and the expertise of the instructors assists them in their chosen areas of photography, providing confidence to compete in the marketplace.
As the founder and owner of a fine art photography gallery that attracted clients from around the globe, and a professional fine art photographer who has had solo exhibitions in France, Italy, India and the US, I have to say that CPC, although a young organization, is on the right track. Their classes are comprehensive, taught by professionals in the field, and the lectures and exhibitions are topnotch. I think that given time, with the wonderful energy that goes into every endeavor, will grow into a strong, vibrant center for the photographic community.
Chicago Photography Center provides a great neighborhood alternative to the bigger schools. For those who want to improve their photography skills, in a community environment, without paying a bunch, CPC is a perfect fit. The negative reviews sound like they're from the previous owners who ran it into the ground and now they're jealous that CPC is a valid school doing good things.
I have been around CPC for about 2 years. I had extensive photography experience before coming to CPC but I find the instructors to be so well informed that I can't help but learn new and interesting ways to achieve my photography goals. They have a broad range of classes all taught by photography pros. The facilities are great as well. They have a full dark room and lighting studio, as well as a digital printing lab. Not to mention the great bank vault in the basement!
This is a great School with exceptional instructors. I have been a professional photographer for many years and have learned new and useful techniques from the CPC.