John Rees: Bringing real-world photography to our classrooms


John Rees will bring his real-world commercial photography to the Arts and Visual Communications department. Randal Neilsen/UVU Review

After spending the last decade doing glamorous photo shoots for clients like Nike and Apple, former teacher John Rees is back for a tour of duty in the Arts and Visual Communications department.

Rees is a new lecturer of photography and brings a lot of real life experience to the table.

His other clients include Starbucks, MGM, Nordstrom and American Express. This type of clientele gives him experience on the commercial side of photography, and some serious clout, but that doesn’t limit what he’ll be teaching.

“I’m officially in charge of commercial photography, “Rees said, “but … [the] lines are blurred between commercial and fine art photography. We communicate and teach what the students need to know.”

His passion for photography is clear. Although he’ll be teaching, he will still maintain his clients and do freelance commercial photography.

This contact with the professional world helps him to stay relevant. He can keep up with current trends and new ideas that he can help his students understand and apply to their studies.

Books and theories never were his thing anyway.

“I’m all about doing…you can’t learn this stuff from books. You have to do it. Plus, that’s boring,” he explains. “I’m all about hands on, one on one.”

Rees graduated from BYU with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. He took on a teaching job at UVSC in 1991, taught for nine years, then pursued his professional photography goals while living in Texas.

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