Brooks Institute of Photography Closing after 70 years

Discussion in 'Education' started by lou_meluso, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Sad news HERE
    I suppose with the many changes in the photography world, the multiple changes of ownership and the high costs of tuition, this shouldn't have been much of a surprise. Yet, as a former alumni, I feel a twinge of sadness. I also feel sad for the students who got cut off from finishing after a fair investment in time and money.
    I went to Brooks in the early 80's when it was still owned by the Brooks family and Ernie Brooks was at the helm. What a terrific experience that was back then with all the wonderful and inspiring teachers and creative students combined with a beautiful facility in the hills of Montecito. I got my first full-time photo job right out of school and I've had a long, career in photography since. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended, but times have changed, photo markets have changed, photo education has changed and with new technologies and shifting cultural trends, photography itself has changed.
    So after 70 years of photography education, Brooks Institute is closing its doors. Thanks and farewell.
  2. Well it was the top of the heap or at least top 10 photo school. I lived nearby and was actively involved and helping several students to realize their dreams while they went there. Anyway, I'll fondly remember the school.
  3. SCL


    Sad, but times do change.
  4. "Brooks Institute had been struggling with declining enrollment, falling from 2,563 in 2005 to 350 students in 2016."
    I wonder if there's anything they could have done differently over the last 10 years to stem the tide.
    Perhaps they never saw it coming - 2005 was just after the coming of the affordable DSLR and photography was at full swing. It was also before YouTube, Facebook, and the full demise of print; maybe the signs were there in hindsight, but difficult to see in better times.
  5. I have mixed feeling about this. I've lived in the Santa Barbara area since the mid 1980s, and have enjoyed running into many of the bright, enthusiastic students attending Brooks, setting up their tripods around town or in the surrounding hills, or shopping for photographic supplies at Calumet or Samy's. Indeed, Brooks was one of the reasons why our area, with a small population, could support multiple professional camera stores.
    But later on I also ran into Brooks students when they were selling off their photo equipment at bargain prices on their way out of town. When a garage sale offered pro-level Nikon lenses along with furniture, it was invariably a Brooks student moving away and giving up on photography. Too many of them were doing this for me to continue feeling good about the school. In 2005, when Brooks belonged to the Career Education Corporation, it was cited by the government of California for, among other things, misleading students as to what they might expect to earn after graduation. Required to make changes, it seems that Brooks made some progress, but the decay of its reputation as well as a diminishing market for the education they offered continued. It's sad, because, from different people, I learned about dedicated and talented instructors, who will no longer be teaching in our area.
  6. When I lived in CA met a number of Brooks graduates. They had a sound foundation in photography. But Dean Collins who did several videos there, photo superstar.

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