This past May with the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, #ritphoto said goodbye to three esteemed faculty members: Doug Rea, Tom Zigon and Steve Diehl. Each had long careers at RIT and in the School. They all introduced new thought and practice into the curriculum. This is especially true since each in their own unique way helped the School navigate the evolution from analog to digital.

Doug Rea was an early proponent of digital technology in the curriculum. He saw how this technological advancement was eclipsing older technical forms at a rapid pace. He led numerous workshops exploring new digital practices before helping to establish the ESP (Electronic Still Photography) Lab in 1989. This lab, which was located in many rooms in its earlier incarnation, continues to play a central role in the school. Now situated in old freshman studios, ESP’s suites are dedicated to the still and moving image, graduate student labs and a faculty workroom.
Tom Zigon joined the School in 1990 and was a leading force in creating new classes and curriculums for the biomedical photographic communications program. Tom was the first faculty member to introduce web-based courses, video and sound capture into the curriculum. It seems like only yesterday we were using Mac Classic operating systems and SCSI devices. While commonplace today in photo curriculums, digital practices for the still and moving image in the early 1990s were original and inventive.


Steve Diehl helped to guide first year students in the Imaging and Photographic Technology program. His instruction in all-important foundational classes drew on his knowledge of the photograph as conveyer of information and evidence that can be systematically measured and interpreted. Steve also taught nature photography throughout the academic year. It took a hardy soul to organize field trips in the month of January, but students loved the organized opportunities to photograph in less than ideal environments.

#ritphoto will miss Doug, Tom and Steve. They taught and mentored generations of students in the Photo Arts and Photo Sciences. Such influence is immeasurable and valued by colleagues, staff, students and alumni alike.

by Therese Mulligan, PhD
Chair, School of Photographic Arts and Sciences