Anyone who was lucky enough to attend Virginia Intermont College since 1973 for photography until its closing this year, knows Jay Phyfer. I attended from 1995-1998 and I look back on those years, as some of the best years of my life. When I think of Jay the first thing I think of is his infectious laugh after all he is a man who is so charismatic you want to hang out with him and hear all his stories and jokes as well as learn from him. Part of the reason I picked VI was there was an intimacy that wasn't present at VCU. Jay took care of you. He helped me find a place to live before I moved to Bristol. Not only was he a great program coordinator, As a teacher, I think of his ability to stay in touch with the trends while teaching from a historical perspective. Unlike a lot of programs, at VI there were tons of classes in photography to take. The first class I had with Jay was Color 1, and I failed the first legendary test and knew I had to work harder after that. Now, I can't look at an interesting color photo and not think of Jay.
When I look back, I wished I had visited Jay and Joe and the school more. I kept thinking I would visit more when I was successful in photography. This was ridiculous because I have denied myself some very meaningful friendships and I may never really be successful. Everytime I saw Jay, He would say come and visit and only cared about friendship and maybe that I was making images whether they were in MOMA or not. I have seen Jay three times this year and hopefully will see him a few more. Sorry Its taken so long to gain perspective, Jay but thanks for your wisdom and patience! If you ask anyone who was in VI photo they might say Jay walks on water if not he at least walks in bathtubs.