I taught photography at Governors State University outside of Chicago for slightly more than fifteen years. One of the highlights of that teaching experience was a course called the Media Team Field Project in which students and faculty traveled along the northern Mississippi River in rented houseboats. The course was usually taught by two faculty members and the students who enrolled in it were from various disciplines including photography, video, creative writing and journalism.
In addition to traveling on the river itself, participants stopped at several towns and small cities in Wisconsin and Minnesota including La Crosse, Trempealeau, Winona and Fountain City. The objective of the course was twofold. The first and most obvious goal was to learn about the Mississippi river and how it influenced the lives of those who lived near it. The second goal was to learn to work as a team -- not only in accomplishing the first goal but in doing all of the tasks necessary to smoothly survive a week of travel in very unclassroomlike surroundings. The experience culminated in an exhibition in the university art gallery and publication in the student newspaper of a group documentary project that utilized all of the various skills and disciplines of the students and faculty who participated. The work that resulted was often quite remarkable but even more so was the experience of producing it.
The photographs presented here were made during three of these Media Team Field Project trips which spanned a six-year period in the late 1980's.
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