Photography professor shares love for new home at university

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Moving somewhere new is always a mixed bag; not only do you have to leave what you know, you have to make a new home as well. However, Pacific University’s new photography professor, David Brunn is quite satisfied with his new home. 

“I love it — I’ve just been dramatically impressed,” Brunn said. “Being at Pacific, first of all, everybody is so amazingly kind and campus is just gorgeous — absolutely gorgeous.” 

Brunn, who most recently worked at the now closed Art Institute of Portland, originally got his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts at the University of Oregon in platinum printing. When he went back to get his MFA in the mid-80s, Brunn completed his thesis on digital photography, the first ever of its kind covering such new art advances. 

The balance of old and new techniques is one that initially attracted Brunn to Pacific. “Teaching here is wonderful because I’ve got the darkroom that we’re still working in,” Brunn said. “And at the same time, we’re teaching classes on digital cameras and more modern material.” 

Additionally, teaching is one of Brunn’s favorite parts of photography. 

“I’ve realized that out of all the careers I’ve had — even with large companies like Nike — teaching has been the thing I’ve enjoyed the most,” Brunn said. “I really missed it in the six or seven months after the Art Institute shut down.”

Compared to his last position, Brunn says the photography program at Pacific feels “less intense” as it’s usually taken up as a minor by students. One thing Brunn has grown to appreciate about this is students’ incorporation their respective majors into photography. He says it allows for more creativity, expression and joy be seen through the art.  

However, the biggest thing Brunn has appreciated since his career move to Pacific is simply the students themselves. 

“They’re wonderful students; very attentive, very kind and conscientious,” Brunn noted. “And, as I’ve been telling Doug [Anderson] and others in the department, their photography has been excellent.” 

One of the students from Brunn’s first half-semester course, senior Fernando Aguilar, says he’s had a great time so this semester and plans on taking a higher-level course next semester. A big motivator for Aguilar, a biology major, to take a photography class was learning more about wildlife photography and getting familiar with cameras in general. 

“I definitely feel way more confident using my digital camera,” Aguilar said, adding he was also blown away by the knowledge and experience Brunn brought to the classroom. 

The Art Department itself echoed this notion when they were looking to fill the open position left by retired professor Jim Flory. “We were all just really impressed with his portfolio and his resume,” Department Chair Terry O’Day said.

Both Brunn and Pacific seem to have found their “fit” on campus.


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