I returned to Boston after a few days being away this week to find that New England School of Photography (NESOP) at its original Kenmore Square location is being torn down.
The front facade facing the Square is still there but the building itself is gone.
NESOP lives on for the next year or so in its new location in Waltham. However, the school will close for good the end of this coming academic year.
If you studied photography in the Boston area, if you went to photography exhibits, lectures, presentations, symposia or workshops over the past 50 years or so, NESOP was one of the places you frequented.
NESOP gave me my first real teaching gig in 1975. 6-hour classes, long hours lecturing, critiquing, hanging out at the end of the gang darkroom evaluating students' work prints, end-of-the-year student shows along the hallway, openings, graduations, guest speakers, colleagues becoming friends, students coming and going, the buzz of activity that was a community of people bonded by their love of the medium, students enthusiastic and charged, the school launching careers. Far more than just a two-year technical school, NESOP stood as a symbol for the community and culture of photography in the Boston region since the late 1960s.
NESOP will live on in the hearts of many.
As I was photographing the wreckage this morning I noticed that there were words written on a wall in the old building.
"I wouldn't be alive if this place didn't exist."
"I became a photographer here."
Thank you, NESOP, for all that you gave and did for so many for all those years. You will be missed but not forgotten.