Jerod Foster is a native son, raised on a cattle ranch in Paradise–literally. Growing up in a small town near Ft. Worth, he supplemented his undergraduate work with writing stints at various magazines and agricultural publications, which stoked his love of nature and opened the door to an interest in photography. But a single elective class changed his entire trajectory; in 2005, he registered for Special Problems in Color Photography, a course at Texas Tech University taught by Texas’ state photographer Wyman Meinzer. The class “was one of the more transformative experiences in my life,” Foster said.
As part of the summer class, Meinzer took his students to The Nature Conservancy’s Independence Creek Preserve; Foster was immediately hooked, and after several years of co-teaching with Meinzer, it was Foster alone who led the class to the desert this summer to once again visit Independence Creek. In addition to capturing the power of the Pecos River, the group of 15 students also stayed at the Conservancy’s Dolan Falls Preserve, situated at the southwestern edge of the Texas Hill Country.
In teaching what he calls an ‘editorial field class,’ Foster hopes students will understand the guiding principles of photography that have worked for him. He shared the four he considers most important:
Foster called it a blessing to have had the opportunity to work with The Nature Conservancy this year, and he knows his students have benefited, too. “Working with [the Conservancy] has been a way to serve as an example for my students,” he said, adding this experience also allowed each student to become fully immersed in nature and develop “an appreciation for the land and the environment and the work that happens there.”