Qfoto Logo

Artist CV & Bio

Seeing, Thinking, Teaching. Visual Poetry.

Quatrain38 Finding Clarity

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

Curriculum Vitae | Donald J. Werthmann

I am a photographic scholar sustained by a journey of working in a variety of commercial and photo education work environments over the past thirty[+] years, and my path is fortunate to have coincided with the incredible photographic paradigm shift from traditional films, to digital imaging technologies. This has nourished my career with a depth of experience that I am eager to share with students via assignments in beginning-, intermediate-, and advance-level courses.

I favor the instructional model of an occupational program because it enables students to get their hands on things, take risks, make mistakes, and as a result produce a deeper understanding of how to construct images. I can point to the years spent in the commercial sector, solving a wide range of visual problems, as to the reason why I value this method. The lighting classes I teach require students to work in groups of three, due in part to facility space, but also because it simulates a real-world studio workflow. Although I presume that they learn from my images and demonstrations when describing assignment objectives, students clearly learn from each other too. They witness various methods of problem solving, voice and express preferred [different] styles of learning, commiserate when confused, but can ultimately garner understanding and retention through it all.

One of the greatest challenges I face is keeping technology in check so that it does not overshadow creativity and/or personal vision. I like to emphasize that good technique unleashes creativity, and that the technical devices are merely tools, and although marvelous, they cannot do the work for us, resolve poorly executed original data, nor be a substitute for personal vision. Contemporary photo education demands excellent quantity and quality of instructional units and learning outcomes to offer students comparisons, create solid technical proficiencies and workflow strategies, and lead them to a secure sense of being visually literate.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic Credentials

Curriculum Vitae | Donald J. Werthmann

May 2004 | Master of Arts — Photography
The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
Wayne State University | Detroit, Michigan USA

May 1986 | Bachelor of Fine Arts — Photography
The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
Wayne State University | Detroit, Michigan USA

Career Photographic Education Professional

Over twenty-five years experience [since 1996] leading students in academia, and participants in workshops. Development of instructional design and deep resources via a customized Website which supports students hands-on time to complete assignments working in the digital lab, in the studio, and/or on-location.

Curriculum Vitae

January 2000 to present
Washtenaw Community College | Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Department Co-Chair | Digital Media Arts Department [July 2017 to 2022]
Professional Photography Faculty | Digital Media Arts Department
Victor Vega, Interim Vice President of Instruction
Eva Samulski, Dean of Computer and Business Technology Division

▣ Two-year occupational program that provides students with a strong technical foundation to enable transfer to four-year art schools, entry-level employment, or small business start ups.

▣ Facilities have a 20-station BW Darkroom; BW film process area; 6-bay studio; 2, state of the art digital labs.

▣ Twenty-three years[+] teaching digital photography exclusively on the Apple Mac OS platform and Epson [P800, 3880, & 7900] printers. Canon & HP wide-format printers. Color darkroom taught [2000 ››› 2002] until department moved into new facilities.

▣ Instrumental in negotiating long-term Canon Camera & Lens Equipment Loan to photography department, fall 2004.

▣ Digital Media Arts Photography Department Advisory Committee Liaison:
2001 ››› 2004, 2008 ››› 2013, and 2018-present.

▣ WCC Global Strategies Committee Member:

▣ WCC Sustainability Committee Member:

▣ Software proficiencies include CurricUNET, BlackBoard, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, & Outlook. Filemaker Pro. Web design proficiencies include HTML, CSS, Javascript, & PHP.

▣ Imaging software proficiencies include Adobe Acrobat Pro, Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver. CHROMiX ColorThink Pro. Monitor calibration & color management workflow from input to high-quality output.

▣ High-quality digital capture and workflow via Adobe Camera RAW, Canon EOS Utility & tether workflow to Adobe Lightroom, Nikon Capture NX, Capture One Pro, Imacon FlexColor for CFV Digital Back and Film Scanner. Digital Asset Management [identify, metadata tag, keyword & copyright imagery].

▣ Lead faculty for department photo studio, featuring Arri, and LTM Tungsten Lighting Systems; Speedotron, Profoto, Alien Bee, small strobe systems and peripherals; Matthews Studio Equipment.

Courses taught at Washtenaw Community College include:

History of Photography
Photography 1 [Digital]
Introduction to the Studio
Studio Portraits & Portrait Retouching
Environmental Portraiture
Advanced Studio Techniques
Lighting for Video
Intro to HTML Coding & Web Design

Digital Photo Imaging 1
Digital Photo Imaging 2
Color Photography [Darkroom]
Color Photo Design [Digital]
Personal Portfolio Projects
Professional Portfolio Development
Study Abroad to Japan & Spain
Independent Study & Mentoring

Curriculum Vitae

July 2018
Global Education Oregon | Segovia & Oviedo SPAIN

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Visiting Scholar
Administered via University of Oregon | Eugene, Oregon USA
Cori Benz, Program Coordinator

Color Photo Design in Spain: An eighteen-day course where students activate a personal plan for an immersion experience in international living, and produce images with digital SLR cameras & portable computers.

▣ Students produce blog postings, construct and post daily updates to a personal Website, and produce final portfolios prior to departing Spain.

Curriculum Vitae

May 2006, 2008, 2010
Japan Center for Michigan Universities | Hikone, Shiga JAPAN

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Visiting Scholar
Administered via Michigan State University | East Lansing, Michigan USA
Kate Simon, Program Director

Color Photo Design in Japan: A two-week course where students activate a personal plan for an immersion experience in international living, and produce images with digital SLR cameras, portable computers & printers.

▣ Students made blog postings, constructed and posted daily updates to a personal image-gallery Website, and produced portfolio books with inkjet print media & handmade papers prior to departing Japan.

Curriculum Vitae

July 1991 to December 1999
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops | Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

Photography Workshop Instructor
Operations Manager
Course Assistant & Work/Study
Reid Callanan, Owner & Director

The New Mexico Journey Photography Workshop Instructor
July 1996, Feb. & July 1997, Feb. & July 1998, Feb. & July 1999.

Color Fundamentals Photography Workshop Instructor
September 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999.

▣ Each one-week workshop, averaging 45 contact hours, is a hands-on learning and instructional model providing beginning to advanced assignments, critiques, and demonstrations.

▣ All workshops were E-6 Color Film based and location intensive which required field session management of participants on assignment.

Jan 1994 to Dec 1999 | Santa Fe Workshops Operations Manager

▣ Coordinator of photographic workshop support systems; inclusive of hiring, scheduling, budgeting, facilities, equipment sponsorships, and film processing logistics for participants.

June 1991 to Oct 1993 | Santa Fe Workshops Course Assistant & Work/Study

▣ Produced/coordinated materials for assigned workshop. Assisted class sessions, critiques, image presentations. Provided technical assistance, explained workshop support systems, and performed field session management.

Special Projects Coordinator

Over two decades of experience coordinating visiting artist lectures and workshops, conferences, and student portfolio review events in academia. Coordination of partnerships and collaborations with local and distant host-institutions and their faculty offer in-depth, enriching experiences for students and community participants.

Curriculum Vitae

April 2013 to present | Life Images of Today and Tomorrow
University of Michigan Cancer Center | Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Volunteer Technical Coordinator & Photographer
Melinda Hallenbeck-Kostecky, Art Therapist & Project Director

▣ In partnership with Washtenaw Community College Digital Media Arts Photo Faculty and Students, this volunteer project offers an opportunity for patients and their families to have professional quality portraits produced on site at the Cancer Center and/or at WCC Studios, at no cost. ‹‹MLive Article››

Curriculum Vitae

June 2004, 2005, 2006 | Photoshop Soup2Nuts
Regional Conference Hosted at WCC | Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Education Coordinator
Ruth Knoll, Director

▣ Two-day fund raising events that benefit Washtenaw Community College Digital Media Arts and Summers-Knoll [K-12] School student scholarships.

▣ Contacted and scheduled internationally recognized digital artists and photo-educators that included Jerry Uelsmann, Maggie Taylor, Bruce Fraser, Katrin Eismann, Dan Burkholder, Richard Newman, Scott Kelby, and Michael Grecco.

▣ Other presenters from Adobe Systems included Thomas Knoll, Mark Hamburg, Russell Brown & Jeff Schewe.

Curriculum Vitae

January 2003 to present | Visiting Artist Speaker Series
Washtenaw Community College | Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Special Events Coordinator for WCC Digital Media Arts Students
Various Project Directors

▣ Rob Woodcox: Business of Photography Boot Camp — winter 2019

▣ Dan Burkholder: iPhone Artistry, Three-Day Workshop — winter 2012

▣ Gregory Heisler [Canon Explorers of Light Program]: — winter 2009

▣ Yoshimitsu Nagasaka at Osaka University of Arts | Osaka, JAPAN:
OUA Students collaborated with WCC Students in the critique of
The Ernst Haas Creation Portfolio — spring 2006

▣ Eddie Soloway: The Natural World & Photogravure:
Eastern Michigan University Art Deptartment Collaboration — winter 2006

▣ John Paul Caponigro: The Creative Process — fall 2004

▣ Cameron Davidson: The Business Behind the Image Making — spring 2004

▣ Jeff Schewe: Digital Workflow and Inkjet Printmaking — winter 2004

▣ Elizabeth Opalenik: Alternative Processes — spring 2003


Artist Biography

Curriculum Vitae | Donald J. Werthmann

Don Werthmann is a Professional Photography Faculty member in the Digital Media Arts Department at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ranging across over forty years his career is immersed in photography and education. His professional teaching career, spanning over twenty years, includes the film & digital eras, augmented with web design & development, and lighting for film & video.

As Department Co-Chair of the Digital Media Arts Department from 2017 to 2022, Don successfully led colleagues through the tumultuous and chaotic pandemic years, which is inclusive of six disciplines: Audio | 3D Animation | Graphic Design | Photography | Video | Web Development.

As a Michigan native, his passion and appreciation for various forms of visual art and art history emerged when he was a teenager, which eventually led him to earning B.F.A. and M.A. degrees in Photography from Wayne State University, in Detroit. Immediately after obtaining his undergraduate degree in the mid-1980s, he worked as a freelance camera and lighting assistant in commercial, automotive studios in the Detroit area, producing national-level print advertisements & catalogs for many well-renowned auto companies.

In the early-1990s Don discovered a strong calling to transition into a career in photo education, which led him to spending over eight years at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His tutelage under some of the most influential names in the photographic industry took incremental steps from student work-study, to teaching-assistant to being the Operations Manager for six years. Don was an instructor of two different, weeklong workshops for four years as well. During this pivotal phase of his career, Don learned to complement his instructional designs and learning outcomes with the organizational strategies and expectations practiced in the commercial sector of the photography industry.

The opening of the new century demanded earning a graduate degree and a simultaneous transition from film to digital capture workflow technologies. The combination of all these professional credentials uniquely position Don to teach with depth, the widest range of photography courses amongst his colleagues, which is evident in a list consisting of sixteen course titles ranging from beginner to advanced to mentoring to study abroad opportunities.

As an artist, Don is a practitioner in the genre of lyric documentary as his images are infused with curiosity, the lyricism of everyday life, and a naturally unfolding tapestry of events presented to the camera. He also produces expressive portraiture in the studio and on-location.


Freelance Employment

Curriculum Vitae | Donald J. Werthmann

Eight years experience, assisting over forty commercial/advertising photographers in five market areas of the USA; Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Phoenix. Extensive experience in studio and location lighting, including natural light, tungsten, strobe, and HMI. Extensive experience with Nikon cameras; Hasselblad, Mamiya, and Pentax medium format cameras; 4x5 studio and field cameras; 6x17 panoramic cameras; 8x10 studio and field camera systems.

May 1988 to April 1994
Northlight Studios, Inc. | Madison Heights, Michigan USA

First Camera Assistant
Guy Morrison | Don Johnston | Bob Williams | Bruce Ayers, Photographers
▣ Coordinated and assisted on numerous national print ads and catalog images for automotive clientele and related industries. Extensive experience with studio and location lighting, from small to very large products.

March 1993 to May 1993
Rodney Rascona Studios, Inc. | Phoenix, Arizona USA

Second Camera Assistant
Rodney Rascona, Photographer
▣ Ten week project for GMC Truck. All studio.

Aug 1991 to March 1993
Joe Baraban Photography, Inc. | Houston, Texas USA

First Camera Assistant
Joe Baraban, Photographer
▣ Commercial photography studio specializing in location lighting techniques for national print ads and corporate annual reports. Responsible for several pre- & post-production tasks, job coordination, specialized camera supports for automotive clientele, set construction & rigging, film handling & processing, maintenance of equipment and crew management.

▣ Color darkroom production of 8x10 duplicate transparencies for portfolios sent to ad agencies, graphic designers, editors & art buyers. BW darkroom print production included.

Aug 1990 to Dec 1990
General Motors Design Center | Warren, Michigan USA

Second Camera & Lighting Assistant
Dave Tellefsen, Photographer
▣ Assisted in project to document competition vehicles in current market. Data was provided to designers and engineers. Mostly on-location.

June 1988 to Dec 1990
City Lights Stage, Inc. | Madison Heights, Michigan USA

First Lighting Assistant
Fujio Takeguchi, Lighting Director | Yoshikatsu Baba, Photographer
▣ Principal liaison for Japanese lighting & camera crews to coordinate and administer tasks. Projects produced for catalogs and national print ads for the Inkpoint Ad Agency & The Ford Motor Company of Japan. Mostly Studio.

July 1987 to Feb 1991
Zone Five Productions, Ltd. | Hamtramck, Michigan USA

First Camera Assistant
Janine Menlove, Photographer | Chuck Cirgenski, Producer
▣ Assisted in producing small product still life and food photography for magazine publications and print ads. Mostly studio.

Aug 1987 to Dec 1990
Satterwhite Productions, Inc. | New York City, New York USA

Production Assistant
Al Satterwhite, Photographer | Joy Satterwhite, Producer
▣ Exclusive vehicle consultant and preparation to produce national print ads for SAAB, Jeep, and Oldsmobile. Mostly on-location.

May 1987 to Aug 1990
Tim Doyle Studios, Ltd. | Ferndale, Michigan USA

Second Camera Assistant
Tim Doyle, Photographer
▣ Automotive, commercial photography & cinematography. Extensive location and studio experience producing automotive catalogs, national print ads, and television ads.

May 1986 to Feb 1987
Vern Hammarlund Studios, Inc. | Troy, Michigan USA

First Camera Assistant
Thomas Drew, Photographer
▣ A variety of clientele that included automotive, health care and financial industries, and editorial publications. Extensive studio and location lighting.


Exhibit, Lecture and Juror History

Curriculum Vitae | Donald J. Werthmann

Solo Exhibits

▣ Pearl Street Studios | First Fridays Ypsilanti — October 2019
The Quatrain Project

▣ The Found Gallery | Ann Arbor — June 2018
The Quatrain Project

▣ Pearl Street Studios | First Fridays Ypsilanti — October 2017
The Quatrain Project

▣ University of Michigan | University Commons — August 2012
Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents

▣ Walcott-Zahn Gallery — March 2012
Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents

▣ Café Verde Gallery — July 2011
Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents

▣ Lotus Center Gallery — July 2010
Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents

Group Exhibitions & Public Collections

▣ Permanent Collection
Global Education Oregon [Eugene, Segovia, Oviedo] — 2018

▣ Guest Exhibitor
Dexter District Library — Feb 2018

▣ Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Relief
The Yellow Barn — May 2011

▣ 16 Members +16 Guests
Washington Street Gallery — August 2008

▣ External Jury: WCC Faculty Exhibition
Gallery One — October 2008

▣ Permanent Collection
Washtenaw Community College — 2008

▣ Panasonic Digital Photo Academy
On-line Collection — 2008

▣ A Gaggle of Gaijin
Leopold Brothers Gallery — May 2007

▣ Permanent Collection
Japan Center for Michigan Universities — 2006

▣ WCC Faculty Exhibition
Fourth Street Gallery — January 2004

▣ WCC Faculty & Student Exhibition
Gallery One — April 2003

▣ WCC Huron River Review Annual
2003 & 2019

Public Lecture Events

▣ Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents
Clinton Arts Center — March 2019

▣ Study Abroad to Spain Student Experience
WCC Board of Trustees Meeting — February 2019

▣ UM Cancer Center & WCC Photo Dept. Life Images Project
WCC Board of Trustees Meeting — 2017

▣ Interpreting Photographs in Contemporary Culture
Digitizers Club Meeting — 2014

▣ Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents
University Commons — 2012

▣ Approaching the Moment: Images from Three Continents
Photo Studio Group — 2011

▣ Coordinating & Launching a Study Abroad Experience
WCC Faculty In-Service — 2011

▣ Study Abroad to Japan Student Experience
WCC Board of Trustees Meeting — 2010

▣ Community in Community College: Study Abroad
Faculty Professional Development — 2009

▣ Techniques Photographing the Natural World
Stewardship Network Conference — 2008

▣ Study Abroad to Japan Student Experience
Digitizers Club Meeting — 2006

▣ Career Retrospective
Saline Camera Club Meeting — 2003

▣ Career Retrospective
Ann Arbor Camera Club Meeting — 2000

▣ Instructor Lecture Series
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops — 1996 » 1999

Competition Juror

▣ Annual Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original
Ann Arbor — 2019

▣ Annual Photography Contest
Pittsfield Township — 2010

▣ Annual Photography Contest
Washtenaw County — 2007

▣ Annual Photography Contest
Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation Group — 2007 » 2009

▣ Assignment Earth Photo Contest
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops — 1998


Shadow & Light Magazine: The Quatrain Project
March/April 2023

VoyageMichigan Magazine: Mentoring Feature Article
April 2023

Go to Quatrain fotographic Homepage

Don Werthmann

Photographer | Artist | Educator
and Company Quintessence of
Quatrain ƒotographic, LLC Go to Quatrain fotographic Homepage

Go to WCC Courses Homepage

Professional Photography Faculty
Washtenaw Community College


Forged in the City of Detroit my photographic life spans over forty years. I am a lens-based artist that's been formed by traditional analog tools and techniques, and hammered into its current shape by the hyper-accelerated pace of digital media technology.

I am part of a quatrain of kids [fourth in birth order to be exact] and at a very early age life said, "follow your bliss and live to learn while embracing the idea that this journey is going to be hard work; and then always be adaptable to change."

Maybe coincidence, but as things continue to turn out, choosing a career in photo and digital media fit life's calling. I work hard, and most frequently think that life is serious business, but I also seek to enjoy moments when it doesn't need to be, by going back-country hiking or traveling to a foreign country. I am just an awful musician, yet recently discovered I have perfect pitch, which simply means that I have plenty more work to do.

Quatrain ƒotographic sets out to offer services and products that bring out the best in me as a teacher, digital artist, visual poet, and passionate practitioner of photography [4 quotidian quests].

Thinking Outloud

If you value reading things on the Internet, then visit the blog! Quatrain ƒotographic was born here as a manifestation of the wandered, the wondered, and the found.


PDF ©2004 Visual Literacy in a
Post-Photographic Era

PDF ©1995 Image Usage Rights

Realization Process®

Certified Meditation Teacher
May 2019

Link Judith Blackstone, Founder

Ah Haa School for the Arts

Introductory Bookbinding
Level-1 & Level-2 Courses
April & May 2023

Link Lang Ingalls, Instructor


"When I was 5-years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." — John Lennon

Quatrain Fotographic Footer