Museum director to lead photography class

Mike Easterling

FARMINGTON – While it’s been several years since Bart Wilsey led a photography class, he still remembers why he found the role of photography instructor so appealing.

Farmington Museum Director Bart Wilsey is pictured as newspaperman Orval Ricketts during the museum's Real Night at the Museum celebration. Wilsey is leading a series of photography classes over the next three weeks.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to see what people come back from their shoots with,” he said. “Often, they’ll come back with something you never would have thought about. Some of them can take the most mundane subjects and come back with a beautiful image.”

Wilsey, director of the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, is hoping for several such pleasant surprises over the next three weeks as he teaches the two-hour “Camera Constitutionals: Digital Photography” class through the museum. The class is designed to provide students with the basics of digital photography — such as shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, proper exposure and equipment — and is not intended for advanced students, he said.

“It’s for people who want to learn a little bit more about it, maybe discover what all those things are on their camera but who never took the time to learn,” said Wilsey, whose bachelor’s degree is in photography.

After that brief classroom session, Wilsey and his students will adjourn to Animas Park, where he will lead a discussion on composition and lighting before turning them loose.

Wilsey said he was inspired to start the classes by the recent opening of the “Ansel Adams: Masterworks” exhibition at the museum, which features nearly 50 of the famed landscape photographer’s better-known works.

“I thought this was a chance to provide more opportunities for education, both from an artistic standpoint and a technical aspect,” he said. “It’s a chance to revisit that and talk about different things related to photography and get some people excited about it.”

As a one-time photography student, Wilsey has more than a few ideas about what makes for a good instructor.

“It’s about being open to what you’re talking about and sparking creativity because a lot of people will be hesitant about it,” he said, explaining that if he can get his students past the point where they feel intimidated by the challenges of capturing a quality image and to the point where they enjoy the process, he will have done his job.

Class sizes are limited, and those interested in participating are encouraged to register early. All ages are welcome to take part in the class, but children must be accompanied by an adult.

The classes are planned for three successive Saturdays starting this weekend. Whether they will be offered in the future depends on demand, Wilsey said.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I would definitely be open to doing more of them, especially if people are excited about it. If it fulfills a need, you bet I would love to continue with these.”

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.


If you go

What: “Camera Constitutionals: Digital Photography,” a digital photography class led by Farmington Museum Director Bart Wilsey

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20; Saturday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, March 5

Where: The Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St.

Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for Farmington Museum Foundation members. A tour of the “Ansel Adams: Masterworks” exhibition is included

To register: Visit

For more information: Call 505-599-1174