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Photo op

One teacher books her students’ first show

Photo by Christopher Jones
Photo by Jennifer Hodney
Book cover photo by Ryan Debolski
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Published 5/9/2007

In Carrie Williams' first semester teaching photography at Royal Oak's Oakland Community College, her oldest student was 74. Back then, she was a young-looking 23. Williams recalls the elderly gent's surprise: "He looked at me like, 'What! — you're the instructor?"

The fellow had a point.

Williams' career moves at a quick clip. A College for Creative Studies grad, the 29-year-old has been teaching photography for seven years and owns a photography and Web design business, STUDIOCAW, which handles such clients as the Hamtramck Beautification Commission and HF Architecture, as well as art galleries and local bands. As of last year, she can boast success for her students too. Each of those who enroll in Williams' digital photography course at Oakland Community College can rightfully claim the title of published author.

Each semester, Williams' class collaborates on the publication of Special Projects, a print-on-demand book edited and designed by Williams and featuring student photography. The first publication, called Identity, was completed in December 2006, and another class just wrapped up Unique Perspectives, which features 12 photo series. Inspired by an article she read in Photo District News, Williams initiated the book project to give students the opportunity she wished she'd had during school — a chance to show off her work to a broader audience, and to learn something about publishing. Students decide on the theme by majority vote, and the process is equally fair-minded for the rest of us. With print-on-demand, Williams has set the price of the book at cost. You can also download the book for free.


Check out Special Projects at

Rebecca Mazzei is Metro Times arts and culture editor. Send comments to

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