Professor of photography Jim Flory instituted an open door policy for his office when he first began working at Pacific University, always trying to make himself available for both students and colleagues.
Now, after 33 years as a Boxer, Flory will finally be closing his door, as he prepares for retirement at the end of the school year. Flory, who has led several photography travel courses at Pacific over the years and who has shot photos at events like the U.S.
Olympic Trials for Track and Field, said he is finally ready to take a break from photography for a while.
“I’ve done photography all my life,” Flory said. “I think I’m going to step away from it and enjoy retirement. I’ll still take pictures, but not nearly on the level I’ve been doing it.”
According to Flory, his passion and love for photography began developing after landing a job at a respected camera store in Salem, when he was in his mid-twenties.
“I learned so much about photography during that time in the store, plus the fact that if I wanted to go out and try some advanced equipment, I could take it out and shoot it,” Flory said. “It was the best learning experience in photography I’ve ever had.”
Flory’s job at the camera store coupled with the connections he made with customers, eventually helped lead him to securing a teaching position in photography at Pacific in 1985.
“One of the people that came into the camera store was an adjunct professor here, and she called me and asked if I’d be interested in teaching at Pacific University,” Flory said. “So I came up, had an interview and the rest is history.”
Today, Flory’s “bread and butter” classes include an introductory photography course, advanced photography and a darkroom course. Along with occasional photography travel courses to destinations like Hawaii and British Colombia.
With dozens of students passing through his doors each year, Flory said he is happy to see many of his former students actually working in the photo industry today.
“I’ve seen a lot of students go out into the business after graduating and actually use their photography education,” Flory said. “There are also probably over 25 former students of mine who are now teachers or staff that work at Pacific, and that’s a lot of fun too.”
Flory said one of his more cherished accomplishments as a professor at Pacific came with his work in helping develop the photography minor for the College of Arts and Sciences.
“The minor has been very popular, and very successful for the Art Department,” Flory said. “I had so many students interested in photography and learning more, so I created the minor so they could also be able to take the classes.”
Though Flory will be retiring from full-time work at the end of the 2017-18 school year, he will be returning to Pacific’s Forest Grove campus next year to teach a single course in both the fall and spring semesters.
In preparation of his departure from campus, Flory is planning a show for April in the Kathrin Cawein Gallery of Art, called “The Single Image Show.” He has invited former photography students and alumni of Pacific to come together with him to display for the public a single photo they have taken.
Flory said he looks forward to spending time with his wife and three grandchildren in his retirement. And said he plans to keep in contact with his students.
“I think what I try to impart with all my students in photography is that it’s a lifetime hobby,” Flory said. “Whether it’s at a professional level or amateur level or you just taking pictures of your kids someday, you’re going to do it all your life.”