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Tom Fischer instilled hope in generations of photographers

Nick Thomsen
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Written by Nick Thomsen

After a long lived battle with Leukemia, Professor Tom Fischer, a loved member of the photography department passed away on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy Lynn Wright.

Professor Fischer began teaching at SCAD in 1990 in the photography department before eventually becoming the chair of the department in 1996. According to numerous faculty members, Fischer perfectly embodied what it meant to be an artist and a successful teacher.

“He would tilt his head and ask, in the sweetest way, ‘And how do you feel about your skills?’ My abilities were non-existent,” Professor Norman from the photography department wrote in part of her nomination letter for Fischer. “Rather than just telling me my work was sub-par, he let me come to my own conclusion. He was criticizing my work, yet empowering me to have the confidence to make my own assessments and decisions. Not only is that good teaching; that is extraordinary nurturing and mentoring.”

Photo courtesy Alyse Futch.

In 1998, Fischer became the Dean of School of Media Art and continued to excel until eventually he was awarded professor emeritus in 2016. Fischer presented more than 70 exhibitions in his lifetime, his work appreciated all over the country and highly regarded within the SCAD community. “Paradise|Paradox” was a photo book published by Fischer where he described his search for paradise in his life and where he typically found the opposite.

Fischer’s love for teaching and and his ability to bring out the best in everyone is apparent in the words of students and faculty. He was described as making every student feel like his number one priority.

Friends and acquaintances took to the internet to express sympathy and commemorate his life:

Fischer will be carried on beyond the classroom and with whoever had the pleasure of coming into contact with him. His legacy will never be lost.

As Professor Norman observed, “This man is not a myth. This man is a legend.”

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Nick Thomsen
Nick Thomsen

Nick Thomsen is the Chief Photo Editor at District. He is currently a Sophomore Photo Major who will graduate in 2021.

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