“The instructor-student relationship has always been very intense, and I think that’s what makes Landmark Landmark, to have that strong relationship,” said Tom Kosiba, photography professor and founding Landmark College faculty member. “To really get to know students, learn what works for them, what doesn’t work for them. That’s what’s kept me here—that opportunity to get involved with so many different students at a really direct level.”
Like most early faculty members, Tom Kosiba began at Landmark College as a tutor. He developed a course on “Critical Perspectives in International Relations,” offering a structured approach to critical thinking skills, and taught that course for around 12 years.
An accomplished photographer, he was also helping to develop the College's fledgling arts department. “I think the prevailing feeling at the beginning was that parents sent their children here to get their reading and writing skills, and so the mindset of the administration was that the arts courses weren’t as important," Kosiba said. “Once they allowed for arts courses and got a sense of what they could do for students, then it really took off. Students want the tactile, the movement, the creative aspects, and all the other things that the arts can do.”
For the past 20 years, teaching black and white film photography has been Kosiba's primary focus at the College. About 14 years ago, he worked with the Facilities department to design and build a fully equipped darkroom in the basement of the Fine Arts Building.
On a recent Wednesday morning, the space was buzzing with students working on photography projects. Music was playing, and every corner of the room was occupied. One student stood at a light table scrutinizing a negative, while another dipped a print into a tray full of fixer. Students went in and out of the black cylindrical chamber that separates the darkroom from the rest of the space. In a nearby room, a student carefully cut out a mat for a print. Around the corner, another set up professional lighting and shot portraits of a classmate against a black backdrop.Students chatted with each other and with Kosiba about the progress of their work. It was clear that they had formed a community of artists.
“Community is so important to everyone's mental and physical health,” Kosiba said. “I have been fortunate to be part of the friendly and supportive community of Landmark College for most of my teaching career. It has been a pleasure watching it evolve in the past 32 years. I know that my yearly monetary contribution helps sustain it, and is a way of supporting its unique mission.”